P4PC: Asia Bibi Acquittal Updates

1 December 2018

Persecution Asia Bibi and Family Remain in Danger in Pakistan | International Christian Concern

Asia Bibi Family ‘Hunted Door-To-Door’ – Release International

20 November 2018:

House of Lords – Lord Alton of Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what response they have made to requests to assist in the (1) safe passage and resettlement of, and (2) granting of asylum to Asia Bibi and her family.

Read the ministers full answer and subsequent short debate in Hansard.

15 November 2018:

PM’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan resigns over the UK’s “lack of leadership… to morally do the right thing” on Asia Bibi’s case – BPCA

Reham Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, resigned as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan, over Brexit and the government’s response to her family’s appeal for asylum. He posted an image of his letter on Twitter. The three relevant paragraphs read as follows:

The second point which brings me to write this letter is the manner in which the Government has dealt with the case regarding Asia Bibi. This is a case that I have worked on passionately since 2012, alongside Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the Former Bishop of Rochester, to ensure that justice is done which was handed down by the Pakistan Supreme Court only recently.

What I found shocking, is that the British Government is failing to put into practice the core values that our country stands for; religious freedom, justice, morally doing the right thing, and that when we see injustice where an individual’s life is in clear danger and they have been persecuted for their faith, we do all that we can to help them. The Government should not wait to see if another country offers sanctuary, we should have had the conviction to lead on this matter and offer sanctuary ourselves straight away.

The letter which I sent to you regarding this matter on 13th November now has the support of some 124 MPs and Lords, I would be grateful if you can personally intervene in this case to ensure that a morally right decision is finally made which takes into account our core values, irrespective of the position that any other country may take on this.

14 November 2018:

During Prime Minister’s questions Mike Kane MP (Lab. Wythenshawe and Sale East) asked Mrs may if Britain should offer her asylum. You can read her response in Hansard or watch below – source: Parliament TV.

13 November 2018:

Today, concern over Britain’s lack of action in offering Asia Bibi and her family asylum has featured in the national headlines.

Foreign Office ‘allowed Pakistan mob to dictate Asia Bibi asylum case’ | UK news | The Guardian

The shameful abandonment of Asia Bibi – Melanie Phillips

Boris Johnson: Britain must help Asia Bibi in fear of lynch mob | Daily Mail Online

The UK should offer safe haven to Asia Bibi, and persecuted Christians like her – The Telegraph

What’s the point of asylum system if we can’t help a persecuted woman? | Daily Mail Online

Asia Bibi: Canada in talks with Pakistan over asylum – BBC News

Persecution Canada in Talks with Pakistan to Offer Asia Bibi Asylum | Persecution

11 November 2018:

Yesterday’s update from Asia Bibi’s family can be read on the following page:

Asia Bibi and her family ask people of good conscience to pray for them as a petition is to be heard challenging her acquittal

8 November 2108:

Late yesterday reports of Asia Bibi’s release from prison in Pakistan began to circulate in the media. Some of them suggested that she and her family had already left the country. This is far from certain, with Pakistan Government spokespersons claiming she is still in the country, but at a secure location.

The British Pakistani Christian Association, who are in direct contact with her husband, have confirmed that she has been released whilst calling for the media not to speculate on her whereabouts.

Below are links to various reports concerning her release. The first of these is a statement from Andrew Boyd, Release International’s spokesman, provided to UCB radio. (2½ minutes).

 

Asia Bibi’s release day has finally come! Now what? – BPCA

‘No grounds for review of Supreme Court ruling’ – Asia Bibi’s lawyer, who fled Pakistan – World Watch Monitor

ASIA BIBI FLOWN FROM PRISON – REPORTS – Release International

BREAKING: ‘Released Pakistan Christian Asia Bibi On Way To Netherlands’, Sources Say – BosNewsLife

No truth in reports of Aasia Bibi leaving Pakistan: Foreign Office – DAWN.COM

Aasia Bibi freed from Multan jail, flown to Islamabad – Pakistan – DAWN.COM

Aasia Bibi’s name cannot be put on ECL without her being proven guilty: Shehryar Afridi – Pakistan – DAWN.COM

Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy freed in Pakistan – Yahoo!/PA

Pakistani Christian woman freed after blasphemy death sentence reversed | Reuters

Asia Bibi freed from jail after eight years on death row for blasphemy – Telegraph

Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi freed from jail – BBC News


31 October 2108:

In a formal verdict Pakistan’s Supreme Court announced that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death 10 years ago for blasphemy, has been acquitted of the charge.

Below are links to a number of reports all of which highlight that whilst this is a significant move for Asia and her family, it could also signal a period of national unrest in Pakistan. Very quickly after the verdict was announced protesters began blocking parts of major cities and the defence forces were put on high alert in advance of the announcement.

Prayer needs are in the following areas:

Safety for Asia Bibi and her family, including her married daughters and their families. It is almost certain that they will all have to leave Pakistan if they are not to be tracked down and murdered.

Pray for them to find not only a safe country to take refuge in, but a Christian environment where they can recover from the ordeal of the last 10 years and be built up in their trust and and confidence in Christ.

Safety for her lawyer and his staff.

The protection of the judges involved.

Wisdom and courage for Pakistan’s government.

Protection for the wider, but small Christian community in Pakistan, who could easy be targeted as a result of this verdict.

Links to reports:

The text bellow the following video links to the BBC’s report of Imran Khan speech to the nation following Asia Bibi’s acquittal.

‘Do not clash with the state’: PM Khan issues stern warning to agitators after Asia Bibi verdict – Pakistan – DAWN.COM

The chief justice defends the Court’s decision:

If there is no proof against someone, how can we punish them: CJP – DAWN.COM

Support is being expressed in Pakistan for the stand against extremists:

Khan’s finest hour – Newspaper – DAWN.COM

A moment of reflection – Newspaper – DAWN.COM

However their are political critics of the Prime Minister’s statement:

Khursheed Shah ‘condemns’ PM Khan’s speech on Asia Bibi acquittal – DAWN.COM


Initial Reports of Verdict:

Asia Bibi: Pakistan acquits Christian woman on death row – BBC News

SC acquits Asia Bibi, orders immediate release – Pakistan – DAWN.COM

Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide – Asia Bibi declared innocent by Pakistan court – Open Doors UK & Ireland

ASIA BIBI ACQUITTED AMID PROTESTS – RELEASE CALLS FOR HER PROTECTION – Release International

Pakistani mother Asia Bibi wins appeal against death sentence for blasphemy – World Watch Monitor

BREAKING NEWS: Asia Bibi is to be freed! – BPCA

Further updates will be added when available.