Mehwish Bhatti, Lead Officer for the British Pakistani Christian Association gathered with other Christians to mark Asia Bibi’s 9th year in captivity with prayers for her freedom and release.
A narration of her arrest and the incident leading up to it was presented from the BPCA website (ਇੱਥੇ ਕਲਿੱਕ ਕਰੋ) on July 14th 2018, exactly 9 years on from her original arrest for blasphemy. Faithful Christians raised prayers and expressed hopes for the gates of her jail cell to opened and for Asia to be reunited with her family.
Young boys held signs saying, “Asia Bibi Pakistani Christians are with you,” and “We are praying for Asia Bibi.”
Hanging on the curtained wall a poster is hung that states ‘Pakistani Christians want freedom for Asia Bibi.’ Resonating with the heart’s desire of Christians across the globe; who all desire swift freedom for the beleaguered inmate incarcerated in draconian conditions for almost a decade.
Mehwish Bhatti. said:
“We stood together and prayed in agreement for the release of Asia Bibi.”
In an interview from 2015, Asia Bibi’s husband Ashiq stated her resolution to stand firm in her faith (ਇੱਥੇ ਕਲਿੱਕ ਕਰੋ) :
“Asia believes she will be set free and her faith is unquestionably, unshakable! She is extremely proud of her Christian faith and would never deny God.”
“Asia cannot stay in Pakistan for a single second after her release, her enemies will kill her. I hope that the Pakistan government will protect my family when she is free and allow us to leave for a safer less hostile location. We have received offers of asylum in several western nations, and I will not regret leaving Pakistan the land of my ancestors, as we have seen too much animosity here. We will leave with no regrets.”
Brave legislators, lawyers and judges have lost or risked their lives for speaking up for her or for opposing the archaic blasphemy law, the list of martyrs includes:
Former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and former Minister for Minorities Shabbaz Bhatti both of whom were martyred for attempts to raise concerns over her incarceration and calling for a review of the infamous blasphemy laws. An early timeline of events leading up to Shabbaz Bhatti’s assassination can be read (ਇਥੇ) .
Ashiq expressed thanks for their incredible sacrifice
“Governor Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti the former federal Minister of Minorities, met with us and publicly declared Asia’s innocence. They lost their lives speaking up for us and we are extremely grateful. They had great faith in the legal system of Pakistan and we fully believe the Supreme Court will release Asia Bibi on appeal. We believe in a mighty God who will set Asia free.”
Passions are still high. Recently an attempt to assassinate Ahsan Iqbal is believed to have been triggered by his opposition to Pakistan’s brutal blasphemy legislation. (ਇੱਥੇ ਕਲਿੱਕ ਕਰੋ)
Earlier this year the European Parliament spoke with concern about Asia Bibi but then rather supinely sanctioned Pakistan’s human rights record by claiming it had improved. We can only hope that foreign governments will speak up for not only this simple woman who never intended to be a heroine of the Christian faith but also for those Pakistani Christians who continue to be targeted and abused in similar fashion. Nations have to do more than just watch these violations of human right transpire, their lack of action has plausibly allowed global extremism and intolerance to increase with the impact now being felt on their own shores.
It is now three years since Ashiq expressed his hope for what the foreign governments might do for Asia Bibi. Asia’s husband said:
“I want the British government to negotiate with the Pakistani government and sort out possible ways to free Asia. It has been almost six years for her in prison, how much longer must she stay locked up?”
BPCA continues to ask this question of all statutory authorities who may be able to assist her, but one thing is certain, God has not forgotten Asia Bibi and neither should we. Hebrews 13:3 (NLT) tells us:
“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the BPCA recently spoke to CBN about Asia Bibi’s plight:
BPCA has removed its former petition which had attained close to 20,000 signatures. We launch a new one today which we hope will be a measure of the continued support of Asia Bibi and a reminder to Pakistan that the world is watching their mistreatment of our innocent sister in earnest. We call on people across the world to support this petition by applying their signature that Asia might know that she has not been forgotten; and that prayers and support are as fervent today nine years after her conviction, as when she first began her torturous journey to freedom.
Please sign our petition by clicking (ਇਥੇ)
ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਚੀਅਨ ਐਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ ਦੇ ਚੇਅਰਮੈਨ ਵਿਲਸਨ ਚੌਧਰੀ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ:
“Sister Asia has lost some of the most important years of her life due to the intolerance towards Christians in a highly radicalised Pakistan. Her once young children are grown up but their desire for the company of their mother has never waned.
“Asia has suffered several assassination attempts and is forced to cook her own food due to attempts to poison her. Her sanity is eroding due to the severe isolation forced upon her and the depression caused by failed appeals against the trumped up charges that have destroyed her life.
“The nation of Pakistan must now release this innocent woman before her health fails her – she has suffered enough through no fault of her own. Moreover the pernicious blasphemy laws of Pakistan have to be terminated they serve no purpose in modern day society and are not even sanctioned by the Quran. Moreover what divine being would need man-made laws for protection?”
ਉਸਨੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਕਿਹਾ:
“We will continue to pray for Asia Bibi and are encouraged by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar’s commitment to hear Asia Bibi’s appeal. We hope that the day of her appeal is set soon as any further delay only serves to reduce further Pakistan’s poor reputation.”
BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti said:
“I believe prayer is the strongest weapon a Christian can hold. Although law enforcing agencies have failed to provide justice to Asia Bibi our Hope lies in the Living God. Pakistani Christians are standing with our beloved sister and will continue to pray for her.”