The Supreme Court of Pakistan have tabled in an appeal hearing for Asia Bibi, now Pakistan's most famous blasphemy law victim. The Appeal hearing will begin this Friday 5th December 2014 and BPCA calls on people of good conscience to support her freedom.
Asia Bibi was cruelly imprisoned in June 2009 after she drank from the same well as Muslim's despite her untouchable status. After drinking from the well she offered water to Muslim colleagues who threw water in her face and beat her. In an ensuing argument after she Asia Bibi had been ridiculed for her faith and her God was insulted, she simply said "My Christ died for me, what did Muhammed do for you?" The outraged Muslim women labelled her a blasphemer and called men from the field who beat here severely and gang-raped her. She was beaten all the way back to her home whilst paraded naked, and recently the daily mail revealed that her daughters were also molested. Despite her tribulations she was convicted of a death sentence in November 2010 after a local Imam laid unsupported charges of blasphemy.
Asia intiated her mandatory appeal process after 4 years of incarceration, yet after five postponements of her High Court appeal, the appeal was finally rejected. Commentators state that the appeal judge was coerced by a number of extremist clerics threatening death to anyone who sets free Asia. Salman Taseer a Punjab Governor who called for freedom for Asia and abrogation of the draconian blasphemy laws of Pakistan was killed 4th January 2011 for his stance, Christian Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti met a Similar fate when he was assassinated only months later 2nd March 2011. Remarkably the judge who condemned Muhammed Qadir to prison for the assassination of Governor Taseer, fled to Dubai after attempts to kill him in Pakistan were thwarted.
The BPCA is extremely concerned about the rising tide of hatred meted out towards minority groups in Pakistan. In particular Christians in Pakistan are seeing an exponential rate of growth with crimes of hatred and several high profile blasphemy cases have been laid against Christians this year alone. The BPCA is calling Christians across the globe to unite in prayer for Asia Bibi. They are also calling for people of good conscience from all faiths to challenge the consulates, High Commissions and Embassies for Pakistan in their respective countries, demanding freedom for Asia Bibi.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said;
"Asia Bibi has been a victim of the prejudices, and intolerance that has grown through bad governance in Pakistan. The draconian and biased blasphemy laws of Pakistan are used as a tool to settle personal vendettas, attain victims wealth and to persecuted minorities. For the first time ever Pakistan held consecutive elections last year, whilst in previous years dictatorships were blamed for intolerance. However despite promises of reform the situation for minorities in Pakistan has reached a nadir."
"Asia Bibi and her family maintain faith in the Pakistani Legal system, despite previous failure. However, their confidence is at it's lowest ebb. If the Supreme Court fails to free Asia, her only remaining hope will be for the President of Pakistan to enact his powers of Pardon - this would set a precedent."