Blasphemy convict Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi shifted to solitary confinement cell amid fears of possible attack from the inmates or police guards on duty.
According to details, Asia Bibi who is kept imprisoned in Multan jail has been detained in a dingy small cell which has no window. The confinement cell where Asia Bibi is kept is highly secured due to fear that anyone of the inmates or even the policemen on duty may try to kill her. Allegedly, there are threats to her life, as she was able to win the Apex court’s decision to halt her death sentence.
A prison official has verified that there are threats to Asia Bibi’s life. “She could be killed by any inmate or even a prison guard, so we have to be careful.” Another official confirmed that the authorities are “concerned for her life”.
Asia Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy in 2009, since then she has been behind the bars. In 2010, she was awarded death sentence over the fact that she was charged of 295-C (blasphemy law). However, in recent past, an appeal case against her death sentence was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Apex Court noted that there was a lack of substantial evidence against her and so temporarily halted the death sentence till further hearings.
Prior to this in a similar incident, the then Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer was shot dead by his gunman. The murdered claimed that Salman Taseer had committed blasphemy by calling the blasphemy law a “black law”. Keeping this in mind, Asia Bibi who is convicted of blasphemy may face danger from any of the police guards on duty.
Owing to rising occurances of blasphemy cases, The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2014, strongly criticized the Pakistani government for showing negligence to “investigate, arrest, or prosecute those responsible for religious freedom abuses promoted an environment of impunity that fostered intolerance and acts of violence”.
“Government policies did not afford equal protection to members of minority religious groups, and due to discriminatory legislation such as blasphemy laws…minorities often were afraid to profess freely their religious beliefs,” the report stated.