Archbishop of Lahore has expressed hope that Asia Bibi may get justice saying: “We’re all praying and hoping that she will get justice and be released. The case against her is very weak and fragile…” He said this during his tour to the UK which was intended to highlight the plight of persecuted Christians.
Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM, of the Archdiocese of Lahore, was invited to the UK by an anti-Christian persecution charity Aid to the Church in Need. “We’re all praying and hoping that she will get justice and be released. The case against her is very weak and fragile,” he said.
“The supreme court in Pakistan is very free from pressures, and the chief justice is liberal and for human rights,” he continued. 50-year-old, Asia Bibi, was arrested in June 2009, after being accused of committing blasphemy by her fellow-workers. She was put behind the bars as the draconian blasphemy law was invoked against her.
A sessions court in Nankana Sahib awarded her the capital punishment in November 2010, later in 2014 her appeal at the Lahore High court failed. This October, her appeal was scheduled to be heard at the Supreme Court, however, one of the judges decided to back off.
However despite the hardships, the church in Pakistan is steadfast, said Archbishop Shaw. He said the Church in Pakistan is teeming with youngsters and is surely growing. About 65 percent of the members are under the age of 30, he said.
He said that living as a minority in an Islamic country, and continue to witness to one’s faith poses some serious challenges to the believers. In 2013, Archbishop Shaw was also appointed as a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue by Pope Francis.