Asia Bibi appeal trial date set for fourth time in Pakistan
Following the news that Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother-of-five, has now been given a yet new date for her appeal, the fourth, against her death sentence for alleged blasphemy, a Pakistani Christian group based in the UK has launched a petition to help gain her freedom.
"He has informed us that the appeal hearing for Asia Bibi has been set for a fourth time and will now be heard on 27th May 2014," said Chowdhry.The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) is also calling for a Presidential Pardon for her as she continues to languish on Death Row in a Pakistani prison where she has been since 2009. Ms. Bibi is the first and only woman to be condemned to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws this century.Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of BPCA, has revealed that he has received a text from Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a human rights defender, and Chief of Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) based in Lahore, Pakistan, with the news of her new appeal date.
The hearing is slated to be before the Lahore High Court Division Bench.
Pakistan-born Chowdhry went on to say, "Many of our regular readers will no doubt be skeptical of this date and concerned that once again the presiding judge will fail to attend the hearing. That is why we ask concerned humanitarians of al l faith to sign our petition below. The petition calls for the Government to ensure that judges are made to feel safe enough to allow justice to prevail in this ongoing saga for innocent Asia.
"We have asked that if the Judiciary is unable to make the right decision, that the President of the country should now enact his powers of Presidential Pardon, as Asia has suffered the ignominy of imprisonment for five years despite worldwide affirmation of her innocence."
"The only just sentence is to overturn this utterly unjust and barbaric verdict and release her. International pressure is a must to counter the intimidation of extremists calling for her death."In a previous message, Chowdhry said, "Her initial 'crime' was actually an act of kindness, in that she offered water to fellow agricultural laborers. (However), because, as a Christian, her touch had defiled the water for Muslims, they launched an aggressive verbal attack on her Christian faith and on Jesus, and when she defended her faith in Christ, she was accused of blasphemy.
Chowdhry said to that end the group Ooberfuse, have re-mixed and re-released their song calling for her freedom. This is at the website freeasiabibi.com/home along with a plea from Asia Bibi from her prison cell in which she says, "Ten million people want to kill me...Now that you know me, tell those around you what is happening. Let them know about it. I believe this is my only chance of not dying in th e pit of this dungeon. I need you! Save me!"
Chowdhry said BPCA has re-launched its original 2010 petition calling for Bibi's release, which can be found at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/justice4asia, and he urged many around the world to sign it.
So far, it has received 6,341 signatures, and they are hoping to eventually get 100,000.
Chowdhry added, "We implore those of you who care for Asia to pray for her safety throughout this turbulent time. Already the target for extremists, she is forced to cook her own food, after a number of attempts to poison her. She has remained resolute in her faith despite her situation and continues to pray every day."