Day of Prayer and Fasting for Asia Bibi
A special Day of Prayer and Fasting with Asia Bibi will take place on Friday, 27 April. The Archbishop of Lahore Sebastian Shaw, welcomed the appeal which was announced by Asia’s family.
The Archbishop said: “Our hope and our hearts are with her. On 27 April we will be united in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting with Asia Bibi, praying to God for her freedom and peace.”
The Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death on false charges of blasphemy and has been in prison for more than eight years.
Joseph Nadeem, head of the Renaissance Education Foundation in Lahore and guardian of Asia’s family, said that Asia is appealing to all Christians and all men and women of good will all over the world to join with her in the special day of prayer and fasting.
Asia told her family that she was deeply touched to hear that the Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court Saqib Nisar recently declared that he will assume personal responsibility for the case and as soon as possible will establish the date of the next hearing before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Bishop Khadim Bhutto, chairman of the Pakistan Bishops Council, told Fides: “I appreciate the decision taken by the Supreme Court Judge, it was a necessary step. The poor woman has suffered for so long”. He added:” The Judge should also consider similar cases of innocent persons in prison calling for justice.”
The Pakistan Bishops Council comprises some 40 Bishops of various Protestant denominations including Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Adventists, Methodists and others, and works with the local Catholic Church to promote unity among all Pakistan’s Christians. Bishop Khadim Bhutto said that Judge Sadiq “is working hard to render justice to the people of Pakistan.”
Last week in a meeting with Asia Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Malook, Pakistan’s Supreme Court Judge said as soon as possible he will call a hearing for Asia Bibi. He also gave orders to reconfirm previously revoked security measures and protection for Saiful Malook who is following four other cases of reported blasphemy.
Asia Bibi has been detained since 2009 on false charges of Blasphemy reported by Muslim women and an Imam, following an argument. In November 2010 she was given the death sentence by the lower court in Nanka district and four years later the verdict was confirmed by Lahore High Court. The case now rests before the Supreme Court. There have been many postponements also due to the sensitivity of the case and threats and pressure from radical Islamic groups. Sabir Michael, a Catholic activist and human rights activist said: “Delayed justice is no justice. Rule of Law must prevail over fundamentalist groups.”