LAHORE: In the course of the rising international campaign requiring release of Asia Bibi, the local Church resorts to solemn prayerful observance of the episode.
Asia Bibi a Christian woman mother of five was sentenced by a trial court to death over blasphemy charges, a Church official in Pakistan says the local Church would prefer to maintain a prayerful yet quiet stance.
Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, told,“We understand the concern behind such international campaigns. But the life of this woman is very important to us, and we will not do anything that would endanger her life.”
Father Mani, when asked about the growing international campaign for the release of Bibi — who was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death by a trial court on Nov. 11, 2010 — said, “Instead of making noises, we would prefer to keep quiet and wait for the high court to hear her appeal.”
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zaradri had dropped the mercy move for the convicted Christian mother followed by massive demonstrations arranged by fundamentalist parties and groups against her mercy appeal to the President of Pakistan.
Explaining why the Churches in Pakistan do not want to yell for Bibi’s release, Father Mani pointed out to two prominent leaders, including Salman Taseer, Muslim governor of Punjab province, assassinated in Pakistan for trying to set Asia free with presidential official pardon. And Shahbaz Bhatti, the 42-year-old Catholic minister for minority affairs in Pakistan’s federal cabinet, was targeted by unknown gunmen and pumped with bullets in his car as he was being driven from his residence to his office in Islamabad on March 2, 2011.
Salman Taseer was assassinated weeks before Bhatti, on Jan. 4, by his own body guard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who arrogantly declared that he killed the governor for courageously calling the blasphemy legislation “a black law.”
“The moment one is accused of blasphemy, his life is in danger,” said Father Mani, referring to the latest incident of a mob killing of a man allegedly accused of blasphemy on July 4 at Bahawalpur in Punjab province.