This news story isn’t all that new. The Christian woman who is facing her final hearing to decide whether she’ll receive the death penalty in Pakistan for blaspheming (in this case speaking against the Prophet Muhammad) has been waiting since that eventful day in 2009 to discover her final fate. It was in the summer of 2015 that Pakistan’s Supreme Court suspended her execution.
What actually happened in 2009? It was five days after the incident in June 2009, where several local Muslim women refused to drink water from the same bowl as an “unclean” Christian, a local imam – who was not present during the original argument – accused Ms Bibi of defaming the Prophet. It was this blasphemy which has left Ms Asia Bibi on death row.
Amnesty International have been raising awareness of the case with their UK Director general saying: “This is the latest blasphemy outrage to come out of Pakistan. It seems obvious that this is a case of religious persecution, and it’s very likely the result of a squabble which escalated out of all proportion. Blasphemy accusations in Pakistan are often used to settle petty vendettas and persecute minority groups. It’s a complete disgrace that the courts are complicit in these vendettas. Asia Bibi and Mohammad Asghar are both languishing on death row for crimes which shouldn’t even be criminalised. They should both be released immediately. Pakistan should get rid of these poisonous blasphemy laws.”