MEPs visit Pakistan to support Asia Bibi
A DELEGATION from the European Parliament has delivered a letter of support to Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy.
The MEPs from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group said that reports of Bibi’s ill health were not true, despite her being moved into solitary confinement.
Both her husband and her lawyer told the MEPs, Peter van Dalen from the Netherlands, Arne Gericke of Germany and Marek Jurek from Poland, that she was in good spirits.
In July Pakistan’s Supreme Court halted her execution and ordered a review of her case, although she was later moved to Multan prison.
“For millions of people across the world, Asia is an example of authentic and genuine Christian faith,” the MEPs said.
They called upon Pakistan to review its blasphemy laws, stating the vast majority of cases brought under the code had nothing to do with religion but were used by unscrupulous members of the majority Muslim community to harness the power of the state to settle private disputes with religious minorities.
In October 2014 the European Commission released a statement saying: “The most fundamental criticism levelled against the laws is that the punishment (death penalty) is disproportionate to the nature of the crime. However, another major concern is that a considerable number of the blasphemy cases are based on false claims.
“Cases are filed against Muslims, in the majority of cases, as well as non-Muslims as a way to settle personal scores, or to stoke up sectarian and inter-faith tensions. Such misuse seems to have risen sharply in the last decades.”