Human Rights Group in Pakistan Still Hopes for Justice for Asia Bibi

Local Court Upholds Death Sentence for Christian Woman Accused of Blasphemy

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A local human rights organization warned of interests groups involved in covering up the truth following a Pakistani court’s ruling upholding a Christian woman’s death sentence.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five from the Punjab province, was accused and convicted of “defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed” in 2009 and sentenced to death. Bibi asserted after her death sentence in 2010 that the allegations against her were fabricated by a group of women who did not like her.

Two prominent politicians who called for her release were both murdered and another forced into hiding. Haroon Barkat Masih, director of the Masihi Foundation, stated that many interests are at stake behind Bibi’s case. Too many vested interests and too much pressure that, in the end, cover up the truth of the facts, he said in an interview with Fides News Agency.

«We continue to hope because, as Christians, our faith nourishes hope. We continue to pray for Asia Bibi and for her release, so that the Lord protects and comforts her. But there are many elements that are not conducive to optimism».

Masih said that while international pressure may help, what is needed is the political will of the Pakistani government. He also stated that the current Prime Minister, Nawak Sharif, has given “ample space” for groups with extremist ideology and approved the blasphemy law for political gain. “He does not seem the most appropriate to take a stand against these pressures,” Masih said.

The director of the human rights organization expressed his hope that the sentence will overturned, or that President Mamnoon Hussain will use his power to grant a pardon to Asia Bibi.

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