Caption: Asia Bibi’s daughter, Family Guardian, and Asia Bibi’s husband with Wilson Chowdhry at a recent event in the UK
As the day of Asia Bibi’s release draws nearer the family fear that delays with an asylum application to a western Embassy could result in the heightened risk of Asia Bibi being slain in an extra-judicial killing. Already hundreds of thousands of Pakistani Muslims have taken to the streets to protest against her release and calling for her death.
Would Pakistan negotiate with a murderous mob-who-chants: “Hang her!”? Some social media reports within Pakistan this morning went out questioning Imran Khan’s resolve and giving the impression that he would.
In fact Deputy Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi said the government was talking with the protest leaders to pursue a peaceful resolution. However any reports concluding that the government had bowed to demands have yet been not substantiated at this time. The situation is constantly changing (Click here for update)
In Islamist protests across the country crowds chanting for the death of Asia Bibi have not diminished his determination.
BPCA lead officer Mehwish Bhatti has sent the following statement:
“During the early evening in Pakistan around 6pm (1pm GMT) some Pakistani media aired a report that the government had sent some representatives for negotiations with the extremists and after its conclusion there had been demands by Islamist groups, to send the case back to the Supreme Court for review.
“It was said that they also demanded that Asia’s name be put in the Exit Control list (ECL) to prevent her fleeing the country.
“These types of demands are fear tactics and intimidation meant to terrorize and paralyze the country.
“Pakistani Christians continue to pray for PM Khan to remain strong for the good of the country. ”
PTI responded 1 November 10:18 am to Facebook inquiries in no uncertain terms saying:
“Federal government has no plan to put Aasia Bibi’s name on ECL or appeal for review of the court’s verdict. A review petition has been filed by the concerned party that has nothing to do with the government.” (click here) (click here)
Human rights activist Jibran Khan has said that any concessions with the mob would be “surrender of the state”
And accordingly Prime Minster Khan remains unmoved.
The Pakistani authorities have spoken directly with the family and it has been confirmed to them and clarified that they will not cave in to extremist demands.
Joseph Nadeem guardian of the family has said:
“Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a very strong speech and the rioters and protesters will be stopped.
“I am confident that no retrial of Asia Supreme Court will ever happen, though we are very afraid for our lives remaining here.”
Imran Khan warned protesters on 31 October that he will not tolerate lengthy infrastructure shutdowns saying:
“We will not allow any damages. We will not allow traffic to be blocked,”
“I appeal to you, do not push the state to the extent that it is forced to take action.”(click here)
However the extremists respond with propaganda and threats.
So shocking is the above propaganda song that it gives pause to the question, ‘Isn’t the use of music haram in Islam?’ This is true in some sects of Islam. Listening to this song they are singing:
‘Don’t give us electricity! Don’t give us water! Just hang Asia Bibi!’
At least the lyrical content with its musical genre which seems geared towards the young certainly is disturbing and dark enough for any sensible person regardless of their religion to deem it so in whatever language they may speak.
Educators and marketers employ music for instruction and in that light this intentionally catchy tune from a childlike lead vocalist is heart-breaking.
Threats continue as extremists bide their time. TLP co-founder Muhammad Afzal Qadri is calling for the death of justices of the Supreme Court special bench to be killed, saying:
“They all three deserve to be killed…Either their security, their driver, or their cook should kill them.”
Anyone associated with a blasphemy victim can become the target of brutal and deadly attacks.
British Pakistani Christian Association have asked that the entire family of Asia Bibi and their guardian Joseph Nadeem’s family be given immediate asylum. Joseph Nadeem has stood by them and his name and face is directly associated with this case.
In this video militants threaten and insult Imran Khan and employ anti-Semitic sentiments against the leader of their country.
BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry said:
“They have applied to an embassy for asylum though they have declined to identify the country but the process is dangerously slow in a situation as emergent as this one.
“Acquitted blasphemy victim Asia Bibi may be summarily thrown to the lions by the world if her family is not quickly given asylum in a foreign country and anything delays her exit from the country.
“Every moment that she stays in Pakistan Asia Bibi remains a lightning rod for radical extremists.”
The village Iman who helped frame Asia Bibi when days after the incident in the field with her co-workers he accused Asia Bibi of the crime of blasphemy acted in an interview following the Supreme Court ruling as if the two lower courts had the same authority to convict Asia Bibi as the Supreme Court. He painted the court ruling as the Government changing their mind and many of these demonstrators also feel they are operating out of common sense, bewildered that anyone would think differently. This is the mindset religious minorities in Pakistan deal with on a regular basis.
With regards to whether he thought she would stay in Pakistan following the ruling when asked, Asia Bibi’s lawyer looked at the interviewer incredulously and said:
“Someone who has been alleged to have committed blasphemy cannot live in Pakistan.”
Different countries, such as France and Spain are said to have offered various levels of asylum, may be limited to her husband and unmarried daughter, which would leave the family separated, and even the family of their guardian Joseph Nadeem is at risk. Many proponents of human rights have raised their voices for Asia Bibi.
However, what we do know is that whoever is talking about her; action must be taken to rise to the occasion as their lives and the stability of Pakistan hang in the balance. The entire family and their guardian’s family need asylum within the next few days. It is our belief that countries are reluctant to openly offer asylum because they fear repercussions against their citizens.
BPCA has been asked to help with raising £25,000 to aid in the security and evacuation of Asia Bibi and her family from Pakistan following the verdict. To donate to this appeal please
(donate here) and mark your donation ASIA BIBI