ASIA/PAKISTAN - Asia Bibi arrives in Canada. Christians: "Justice has been dispensed"

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 blasphemy   persecutions   religious minorities   human rights  

Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - Asia Bibi, the woman unjustly sentenced to death for blasphemy and acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 31 October 2018, has arrived in Canada, where she has riunited with her family. This was stated by sources of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry and confirmed by her lawyer Saiful Malook.
In Pakistan the news generated favorable comments among Christians. Bishop Samson Shukardin, at the head of the diocese of Hyderabad, speaking to Fides, states: "It is an important decision of the government to let her leave the country, it is also an act of justice towards a woman who suffered great injustice and suffering for a decade. In fact Asia was declared innocent and freed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has every right to go wherever she wants, for her protection, security and future life".
The Bishop also states: "It is never easy to leave one's beloved home, the place of one's ancestors, loved ones and relatives. But when there are no alternatives, one must leave the country: in fact, here her life would have been in danger also after the Supreme Court's decision. We need to think about Asia Bibi’s safety, hoping for a safe and happy life for her. Let us pray for her new beginning, with her family, in Canada".
Fr. Abid Habib, a Capuchin friar and former director of the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Conference of Major Superiors in Pakistan, told Fides: "For her well-being, we are happy that Asia Bibi is now in Canada in a safe place. In Pakistan there are extremist groups that have not accepted the Supreme Court’s decision. But the sentence must be respected. In Pakistan even when a court frees a person, acquitting the person of accusations of blasphemy, it is not easy for that person to continue to live normally "Asia Bibi’s life in Pakistan was not a free life: the only solution was to leave the country".
Fr. Mario Rodrigues, Rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi, speaking to Fides, points out: "We are grateful to the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada for helping Asia Bibi and facilitating the process of granting asylum in Canada. It is never easy to deal with such matters: we must recognize that the Government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan have restored justice for the woman, guaranteeing her protection and salvation. We wish her well. We exhort the Christian community in Canada to help Asia Bibi and her family in this new life". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 8/5/2019)