Fam­ily hopes Asia Bibi will be freed by apex court

Khaleej Times - - PAKISTAN -

lon­don — The fam­ily of Asia Bibi, a Chris­tian mother who faces be­com­ing the first per­son to be ex­e­cuted for blas­phemy in Pak­istan, said they hoped the Supreme Court would free her.

But in any case they feared for their fu­ture liv­ing in Pak­istan un­der the blas­phemy laws, they told AFP.

Bibi, who has been on death row since 2010, is at the cen­tre of the high-pro­file case that has di­vided Pak­istan and drawn prayers from the Vat­i­can. On Mon­day the Supreme Court heard her last ap­peal and said it had reached a judge­ment, which it has yet to re­veal. “We are hope­ful that what­ever the court pro­ceed­ings are it will come out as pos­i­tive for us,” her hus­band Ashiq Me­sih said.

Her daugh­ter Eisham Ashiq added: “I will be very happy the day my mother will be re­leased. I will hug her and will cry meet­ing her and will thank God that he has got her re­leased.”

Bibi’s fam­ily are in Lon­don on a visit or­gan­ised by Aid to the Church in Need, a char­ity which helps re­pressed and per­se­cuted Chris­tians. Bibi, a labourer, was ac­cused of blas­phemy in 2009 by Mus­lim women she was work­ing with in a field.

The charge is pun­ish­able by death un­der leg­is­la­tion that rights groups say is rou­tinely abused to set­tle per­sonal vendet­tas.

Her fam­ily said that if Bibi is re­leased, it would be dif­fi­cult to stay in her home­land. “Pak­istan is ours: we were born there, raised there,” Me­sih said.

“Liv­ing in Pak­istan for us is very dif­fi­cult. We don’t go out of our home and if we go, we come out very care­fully.”

Life in Pak­istan “for us is very dif­fi­cult”, he added. —


Ashiq Me­sih (right) and Eisham Ashiq, the hus­band and daugh­ter of Asia Bibi, speak dur­ing an in­ter­view with AFP in Lon­don. —

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