Leaders from the European Union have visited Pakistan to express their concerns for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws. Bibi was accused of blasphemy after she got into a conflict with Muslim coworkers over using a watering bowl. Since 2010, Bibi has been on death row appealing the death sentence against her. Last year, Pakistan’s Supreme Court suspended her case indefinitely after an initial hearing. Will the advocacy by the EU leaders help Bibi and her bid for freedom?
11/13/2017 Pakistan (Sight Magazine) – European legislators have visited Pakistan amid concerns that Christian Asia Bibi, a married mother of five, may become the first woman to be executed by the state on controversial charges of ‘blasphemy against Islam’.
Members of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), the third largest group of parties in the European Parliament, met Pakistani government officials and Bibi’s family this week ahead of her December appeal hearing at Pakistan’s Supreme Court, said delegation leader, Peter van Dalen. They also spoke with her lawyer, parliamentarians, and activists.
Mr. Van Dalen, who represents the Dutch Christen Union-SGP faction, was accompanied by Roman Catholic parliamentarians Tomasz Poreba from Poland and Slovakia’s Branislav Skripek, who chairs the European Christian Political Movement.
“Concretely we discussed with the Minister of Justice our proposals to change the blasphemy laws,” that led to her detention, Mr. Van Dalen confirmed in a diary sent to BosNewsLife. “As a first step, we want to see an end to the massive misuse of the legislation. One way to do that is to prosecute those who make false accusations in the same way as the (falsely) accused [person],” he added.
Despite the difficulties, “the lawyer of Asia Bibi told us that he was surprised about her mental situation,” Mr. Van Dalen also wrote. “If you would put me 30 days in jail I would become crazy. Asia is already years behind bars but is both mentally and physically in good condition. It’s a miracle,” he quoted her lawyer as saying.
Mrs. Bibi, 48, has been in prison since 2009 after she reportedly told Muslim co-workers that Jesus Christ is alive. She made the remarks while working in the fields for a Muslim landowner, according to investigators.
“Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins…Our Christ is alive,” Mrs. Bibi reportedly said. She spoke amid a dispute with non-Christian colleagues when she attempted to drink water from a Muslim-owned well, Christians said.
Besides “insulting Prophet Muhammad” she was accused “of contaminating” the well by Muslims. She was charged with blasphemy and a lower court eventually sentenced her to death by hanging in 2010. After years of delays, the verdict was confirmed in October 2014.