“Safeguard and protect the minorities, who are also Pakistani citizens,” Asia Bibi told Pakistan’s Prime Minister
Asia Bibi, who managed to escape from prison, now prays the rosary every day for Christians in Pakistan. In a recent interview with ACN, she appealed to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to protect religious minorities in his country.
The Pakistani Christian wife and mother, who has become a symbol of the suffering inflicted by anti-Christian persecution around the world, spoke from her current home in Canada to Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACN’s Italian national office.
In the interview, among others, Monteduro mentioned two Pakistani women, Huma Younus and Maira Shahbaz, who are in a similar situation as Bibi was not long ago.
Bibi said, “I know that these girls are being persecuted and I appeal to Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to please help our young girls, because none of them should have to suffer like this!”
In the interview, they also spoke about another incredibly delicate issue that concerns Pakistan’s so-called anti-blasphemy laws. As ACN’s regular report on Religious Freedom Worldwide explains, these so-called “Blasphemy Laws,” which were incorporated in 1986 into Pakistan’s Penal Code. They represent a severe restriction on freedom of religion and expression. Defiling of the Koran and making derogatory remarks about Mohammed are crimes punishable with life imprisonment and the death penalty, respectively.
In practice, these laws are frequently used in daily life against religious minorities. Falsely accused, Asia Bibi herself, a mother of five, was imprisoned on death row for almost ten years, until October 2018, when her sentence was finally quashed on appeal by Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
“At the moment of the founding of Pakistan and its separation from India, our founder Ali Jinnah, in his opening proclamation, guaranteed freedom of religion and thought to all citizens,” said Asia Bibi. “But today there are some groups which are using the existing laws, and so I appeal to the Prime Minister of Pakistan—especially for the victims of the blasphemy laws and the girls who have been forcibly converted—to safeguard and protect the minorities, who are also Pakistani citizens.”
“As a victim myself, I am speaking from my own experience. I suffered terribly and lived through so many difficulties, but now I am free, and I hope that these laws can be changed in such a way as to prevent any abuse of them.”
Asia Bibi also spoke about Pope Francis and said she was praying for him with the rosary that the Poe himself had gifted to her. Finally, she concluded with some words of thanks to ACN donors: “I am grateful to ACN and to all your benefactors, in Italy and all over the world, for supporting people like me who are persecuted on account of their faith.”