An international Christian ministry is expressing alarm and concern that a Pakistani woman acquitted of blasphemy by her nation’s Supreme Court still is living “like a prisoner,” months after the court ruling.
It is Asia Bibi, who spent years on death row in Pakistan after a confrontation with her Muslim co-workers, who still remains in danger, according to a new report from International Christian Concern.
Her status remains unchanged “almost three months after her acquittal by the Supreme Court,” the organization reported this week.
She remains a “controversial figure in Pakistan” and “remains in grave danger.”
She was cleared on Oct. 31 of the blasphemy charges that had kept her on death row for nearly a decade.
Islamic hardliners even before the announcement had threatened their nation with violence and the judges in the case if they did not get their way.
Their “protests” “brought the country to a standstill for nearly three days,” ICC reported.
“In order to appease the protesters, the government agreed to have the Supreme Court review its decision to acquit Bibi. In the meantime, Bibi has not been allowed to leave the country until that review is complete,” ICC said.
In the meantime, “Bibi and members of her family have been shifted to an unknown location by Pakistani security forces. According to friends of the family, Bibi is not even able to open a window in her hideout,” ICC said.
WND reported in November that her supporters had asked for asylum for her in Great Britain, and were turned down.
They then asked for the same from the United States, and a decision has not yet been announced.
As WND reported, an advocate for Bibi in the United Kingdom said the British government turned her down because her entry would cause unrest among Muslims and pose a security threat to British embassies in the Muslim world.
The Trump administration, wrote M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy in a tweet, “has an opportunity to not only do what’s right and humane for Asia Bibi but change the immigration narrative re dissidents.”
CNS News noted that Jasser, a practicing Muslim, said the U.K. “is too spineless vs Islamists. Give Asia Bibi and her family asylum now from the torrent of Islamist mobs!”
Ayan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born critic of Islam known as an advocate for the rights of Muslim women, tweeted, “If Britain won’t offer Asia Bibi asylum, Trump should.”
The American Center for Law and Justice, which fought for Bibi’s freedom for more than four years, declined to comment regarding the White House’s response to the asylum appeal. ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s personal lawyer, was a key advocate for American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was released from a Turkish prison last month.
Bibi’s lawyer Saif Mulook has left Pakistan, fearing for his life.
Ashiq Masih, Bibi’s husband, who is in Britain, released a video message saying he feared for his family’s safety.
While no one has been executed by the Pakistani government for blasphemy, at least 65 people accused of the “crime” have been murdered by Muslim vigilantes since 1990.
Bibi’s problems began when Muslim co-workers refused to drink water from a cup from which she had taken a sip and demanded she convert to Islam. Her refusal prompted a mob to later allege she had insulted Muhammad. She was convicted in 2010 under section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code that punishes blasphemy against Islam’s prophet with the death penalty. She was sentenced to execution by hanging.
The Supreme Court ruled, however, that the basis of the blasphemy charge was a “concocted” story.