Pakistani Court reaches decision in blasphemy case

Asia Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih and daughter Eisham Ashiq (CNS/Simon Caldwell)

A court in Pakistan has reserved its decision on whether a Catholic woman will become the first person to be sentenced to death under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Source: NCR Online.

A special bench of the Supreme Court, sitting in Islamabad, reached a verdict Monday on the fate of Asia Bibi, but publication has been deferred until a later, unspecified date, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association.

In a news release sent to Catholic News Service, Mehwish Bhatti, an officer of the BPCA who was in the courthouse during the proceedings, said the three judges “have come to a decision, but it has been reserved.”

Ms Bibi has been held in solitary confinement since November 2010, when she was sentenced to hang for insulting Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

Ashiq Masih, her husband, told CNS on Friday that if Ms Bibi is released she and her family will immediately seek sanctuary in one of several countries that have offered them exile, because it was too dangerous for them to remain in Pakistan.

Mr Ashiq, a builder from Sheikhupura, Pakistan, was in England with the couple's youngest daughter, Eisham Ashiq, 18, as guests of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity helping persecuted Christians.

They said when they visited Ms Bibi in Multan Prison on October 1 that she was in good health, contrary to speculation that she was developing dementia.

During the interview at St Columba’s Church, Mr Ashiq said Ms Bibi was praying constantly and that she deeply believed she would win her freedom.

“She is psychologically, physically and spiritually strong,” Mr Ashiq told CNS. “Having a very strong faith, she is ready and willing to die for Christ. She will never convert to Islam.

“She also wanted to deliver a message to the international community that they must remember her in their prayers. These prayers will open the door of the prison, and she will be released very soon,” he said.

FULL STORY

Pakistan court rules on Catholic’s blasphemy charge, defers announcement (NCR Online

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