ASIA/PAKISTAN - Asia Bibi's family at the Vatican: "The Pope will pray for us and with us"

Friday, 23 February 2018 blasphemy   asia bibi   christianity   islam   political islam   extremism   persecutions   religious minorities  


Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "We believe in Jesus Christ and we turn to Him by putting Asia's life in his hands. We are sure that the Lord will listen to us, also thanks to the Pope's prayer and to the prayers of all the faithful in the world": says to Agenzia Fides Ashiq Masih, Asia Bibi's husband. Asia is a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy and still imprisoned in the Multan female prison, in Punjab. Ashiq Masih is in Rome with his daughter Eisham and speaks to Agenzia Fides on the eve of the meeting with Pope Francis: "Asia Bibi confides in the Pope's prayer and asks the Holy Father to pray for her and for her liberation", he remarks. "She lives her imprisonment with great faith and entrusts herself to the Lord every day. We live this privilege of meeting the Holy Father with great confidence. We ask him to pray for us and with us", says the man. Even his daughter Eisham also hopes to "see her mother as soon as possible, in a peaceful place and in family tranquility. I pray for this every day", she says.
Asia Bibi has been in prison since 2009 and, after the conviction in first degree, which was confirmed on appeal, only the Supreme Court of Pakistan has the power to change Bibi’s fate.
According to Joseph Nadeem, at the head of the "Renaissance Education Foundation", the Foundation that is taking care of Asia Bibi’s family and supports its legal expenses, "the lawyers are taking care of the appeal and we are awaiting a date for the hearing, which let us hope happens as soon as possible. This family lives the drama of the imprisonment of an innocent wife and mother. We have full confidence in the rule of law and the Pakistani judiciary. We are convinced that we can prove to the Supreme Court Asia Bibi’s innocence".
In Pakistan, Asia Bibi's case has become symbolic and Islamic radicals only want her hanged. Her case was cited and exploited even during anti-government demonstrations organized in recent months in Islamabad by Islamic fundamentalist groups. In order to put a peaceful end to the demonstrations, the government had to sign a memorandum of understanding. In the text, the government undertook not to change the blasphemy law in any way, which continues to be abused in Pakistan, as in the case of Asia Bibi. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2018)


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