Asia Bibi’s execution temporarily suspended
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, has had her ex- ecution temporarily suspended after Pakistan’s supreme court agreed to hear her appeal. Mrs Bibi was arrested in 2009 after being involved in a dispute over a water bowl with a group of Muslim women she was working with.
Why was it under-reported?
At the moment Asia Bibi’s situation is unresolved. If she loses her appeal she would become the first woman to be executed under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which would make global headlines. If she wins her appeal the five-year fight of human rights groups will finally seem to be worthwhile, which would again be a big news story. Another reason the story was under-reported is that the situation that large numbers of Christians in the Middle East face with ISIS is deemed more newsworthy than one woman’s plight.
What will happen next?
Blasphemy cases in Pakistan rarely lead to acquittal and often spark violence if the defendant is found not guilty. Joseph Nadeem, a family spokesman for Mrs Bibi, believes that even if she wins her appeal it will not be safe for her to live in Pakistan. He said: “Many people are against her and are chasing to kill her.” Last year Ms Bibi’s husband Ashiq Mashi wrote to President Hussain to ask for her to be pardoned and allowed to move to France, but this was rejected.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.