Christian mother Asia Bibi condemned Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws and issued an urgent call for reform in her first interview since being released from prison after spending eight years on death row on a false blasphemy charge.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Bibi thanked Pakistan’s supreme court for acquitting her but said others also need fair trials. “There are many other cases where the accused are lying in jail for years and their decision should also be done on merit. The world should listen to them,” she said.
“I request the whole world to pay attention to this issue,” Bibi continued. “The way any person is alleged of blasphemy without any proper investigation without any proper proof, that should be noticed. This blasphemy law should be reviewed and there should be proper investigation mechanisms while applying this law. We should not consider anyone sinful for this act without any proof.”
Bibi’s ordeal began nearly 10 years ago when two Muslim farm laborers accused her of drinking from the same container as them and refused to drink after her because she’s a Christian.
Bibi, also known as Asya Noureen and a mother of five, was subsequently accused of insulting the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. In Pakistan, where 97 percent of its 180 million inhabitants are Muslim, being charged with committing blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death or life in prison.
After spending eight years on death row, Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which ultimately said there were many inconsistencies in the testimonies against her. However, she was kept in custody for another seven months as the government struggled with how to free her without angering hardline Islamist groups.
Speaking about her time in a Pakistani jail, Bibi told The Telegraph that her Christian faith had never faltered and also said she never cried in front of her daughters when they visited her in jail. “I used to cry alone filled with pain and grief,” she said.
Still, Bibi said she feared for her future. “Sometimes I was so disappointed and losing courage I used to wonder whether I was coming out of jail or not, what would happen next, whether I would remain here all my life,” she said. “My whole life suffered, my children suffered and this had a huge impact on my life.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett