ISLAMABAD: International media raising voices over Asia Bibi’s quiet deterioration behind the bars whereas local media overlooks her ordeal.
Paris-based Tollet, who wrote Bibi’s personal testimony — which will be published in the United States under the title Get Me Out of Here — said in an email interview that “even her husband and five children are also suffering from the accusation blasphemy.”
“They are all living [under] the threat of death and have gone into hiding, frequently moving house and unable to go outside or to work. The children miss their mother badly and have stopped going to school for their own safety. The youngest is only 9 years old,” pointed out Tollet. “Her health is deteriorating, her husband risks being killed every time he visits her [in jail], and her children cannot see their mother for their own safety.”
Tollet pointed out that it was Shahbaz Bhatti, the murdered Christian minister, who was supporting her endeavours to acquaint the world with Asia Biibi’s story, despite the fact that she could never meet her in prison.
After much argumentation and urging by Shahbaz Bhatti, Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, took Tollet’s translated questions to the prison for her response, said the French journalist.
She added, “For two months I would wait for Ashiq at the prison gate, and there, with the help of an Urdu-English interpreter, he would tell me Asia’s answers to my questions.”
But for the time being, this mounting struggle goes on as the Pakistani court is yet to take up her appeal against the blasphemy conviction and death sentence. Worsening the situation, a cleric in Peshawar has offered a reward of 5,000 euro to anyone who kills the mother of five.