A video which is making headway on the internet shows a man intent on killing Asia Bibi telling the world he is in Canada seeking an opportunity to murder the innocent Christian mother of five who has only recently been allowed to leave Pakistan after a 9.5 year brutal incarceration. Read more (here)
In the video the man sings an Islamic chant honouring Muhammed and professes that he a beloved believer of Islam will slay the blasphemer Asia Bibi. He warns the ‘Enemies of Islam and the Jew Government that set Asia Bibi free’ that he will kill her.
In the meanwhile a number of churches in Pakistan have informed BPCA that they are receiving threats from local militants and have been warned that the growth of IS in Pakistan is imminent.
Overall the situation in Pakistan has been relatively quite after the Pakistani Government arrested over 3500 extremist leaders from Tehreek-e-Labaaik, IS and Tehreek-e-Taliban. Moreover, one of the former leaders of Thereek-e-labaaik, Afzal Qadri announced his retirement from the group and issued an apology to General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the superior judiciary to whom he directed incendiary remarks after Asia Bibi’s acquittal. A video of his apology can be viewed (here)
Security around churches in Pakistan has been stepped up significantly since the release of Asia Bibi and teams of security officials can be seen at churches up and down the country. The government has been providing the enhanced measures themselves despite threats that they would close churches without their own security details in January. This may be the reason why we have heard of no attacks on churches since Asia Bibi’s release, coupled with the arrest of the extremist leaders who instigated the riots after her initial exoneration by Pakistan’s supreme court.
The written warnings received via the Interior Ministry in January this year may still result in churches having to close down as they will not be able to afford the onerous cost of security. This move by the government of Pakistan was maligned by Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association Wilson Chowdhry, who wrote to the Pakistani High Commission of London and explained that the need for heightened security was due to poor governance by Pakistani authorities and no fault of Christian churches. He suggested that a happy medium be provided with a grant system for security whereby less wealthy churches could work towards an independent security arrangement over a period of 5 years. In usual fashion the UK High Commission of Pakistan failed to respond and the bias mandate is still in place.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Pakistan has been relatively silent since the release of Asia Bibi but international security agencies must not get complacent.
“Her release is a real bone of contention with the millions of radicalized Muslims across the globe who are waiting for an opportunity to assassinate Asia Bibi, or a mass terrorist strike in revenge for what they see as a perceived blasphemy.
“It is not known whether the threat made by the man that he is in Canada is genuine or not, however the fact that the video exists is a chilling concern.
“We have informed American, British, Canadian and Pakistani officials of fear for Asia Bibi’s safety and many other innocents who will be targeted because of hatred for her.
“Pakistan’s ruling party in January issued a decree requiring churches to have independent security arrangements by March or face closure, in the interest of fairness they must adapt or terminate this policy and allow small churches to continue in order to preserve religious freedom.
“Asia Bibi has been resolute throughout her ordeal and deserves her long awaited freedom, her death would be a devastating blow to anyone who espouses freedom and equality – it is imperative that she is protected to preserve these ideals.
“I pray for Asia Bibi daily and ask others to join me in solidarity for her and for global justice.”