European Union, Pope bring renewed hope for Asia Bibi

March 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-asia

Lahore, February 27, 2018: The family of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman imprisoned now for nearly nine years on blasphemy charges has renewed hope that new pressures on the Pakistani government may lead to her release.

Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih, and her 18-year old daughter met with Pope Francis at the Vatican this past weekend. The meeting occurred as the Roman Colosseum was bathed in red light at 6:00 pm on February 23 in recognition of Christian martyrs of the faith.

The meeting was reportedly emotional, and Pope Francis prayed with Ashiq, Eisham, and Nigerian Rebecca Bitrus, who was kidnapped and held by Boko Haram jihadists for two years.

After meeting with the pope, Eisham told a reporter that she believes her mother will soon be released from prison, but the family must then flee Pakistan or they will be killed.

Asia Bibi was jailed in June 2009 after her Muslim co-workers became upset over her use of a drinking cup. Angry words were exchanged and they accused her of committing blasphemy against Mohammed.

She was convicted and sentenced to death. In October 2016, Bibi appealed her case to the Pakistan Supreme Court. She’s still waiting for the appeal to be heard.

Once again, Asia Bibi’s case focuses attention on Pakistan’s antiquated blasphemy law.

Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association said the timing of the papal meeting was important. It comes as the European Union warns the Pakistan government that the outcome of Bibi’s case is going to be directly linked to trade benefits the EU gives the country.

“It seems to me everything is happening at a particularly good point where all these different ends are coming together, putting enough pressure on

Pakistan to make them make a correct decision and free Asia Bibi who is an innocent woman who committed absolutely no blasphemy.”

Chowdhry made the remarks in an interview with CBN’s Gary Lane and also detailed the case of Patras Masih, a Christian teen arrested February 19th on false charges of possessing blasphemous images on his Facebook page uploaded via his stolen mobile phone.

He said Masih is the fourth Christian teen arrested and charged with blasphemy in Pakistan in the past six months.

“For me, a law to be misused in this fashion is simply a poor indictment of any nation,” Chwodhry said.

– cbn

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