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Asia Bibi: What they said

Wed 31 Oct 2018
By Eno Adeogun

People all over the world have been celebrating Pakistan's highest court decision to overturn the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

Asia Bibi spent eight years on death row, accused of insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammad.

She has always maintained her innocence.

Here's how people responded to the news:

Tahir Khalil Singh, Asia Bibi's Christian lawyer said: "I am so satisfied and thankful to Jesus Christ that she has been acquitted. But who is responsible for these ten years she spent in the jail behind bars in isolation?"

Catholic Communications Network explained what they were praying for: "May our Lord bless and protect Asia and her family. We now pray for peace for all in Pakistan, particularly those Christians and other minorities under threat from extremists."
 
Prime Minister Theresa May replied to a question from Christian and Conservative MP Fiona Bruce in PMQs by saying: "The news out of Pakistan of the release of Asia Bibi will be very welcome to her family and to all those who have campaigned in Pakistan, and indeed around the world, for her release. Our long-standing position on the death penalty is well known: we call for its abolition globally."

Baroness Berridge, a Christian politician and co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on international freedom of religion and belief told Premier: "This is a systemic problem and it hasn't changed or reformed the laws of blasphemy in Pakistan per se."

You can listen to the full interview with Baroness Elizabeth Berridge from Premier Christian Radio's News Hour here: 

  

Christian and human rights campaigner Mehwish Bhatti told Premier: "We must give glory to God that he has given the right [verdict] for Asia, that the Supreme Court has clearly said that 'no charges have been proved."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide issued a statement saying: "CSW welcomes the news of Asia Bibi's acquittal and we call on the government of Pakistan to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to ensure the safety of Asia Bibi, her family, the Christian community and all involved in her case following explicit threats from certain extremists groups in the country."

Open Doors responded: "We are relieved to hear that the Pakistani Supreme Court has dropped the charges against Asia Bibi - charges that were based simply on her Christian identity and false accusations against her. This decision gives us hope that Pakistan will take additional steps to increase freedom of religion and human rights in the country."

Latif Khan, a Christian from the Pakistan capital Islamabad and the CEO of an NGO working there told Premier Christian Radio's News Hour: "At first there was a happy feeling in a sense that one of our Christian fellows has been released…but on the other side we are mostly in fear and we are worried what will happen."

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