Asia Bibi's daughter says she is 'confident in God' as family await verdict on death sentence appeal

Asia Bibi

The daughter of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan is putting her faith in God as the family await the final verdict on her appeal. 

Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam by Muslim co-workers on a farm where she worked.  She has been in prison ever since. 

The Pakistan Supreme Court reached a decision on her appeal this week but is yet to publicly announce it. If the death sentence is upheld, Bibi will become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy. 

Her husband Ashiq Masih and daughter Eisham Ashiq are currently in the UK for a visit hosted by Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail, 18-year-old Eisham said she has missed her mother 'very, very much' over the past nine years of their ordeal. 

'I was very close to her, and there hasn't been a day that I haven't been praying for her to come home,' she said. 

Bibi is being kept in solitary confinement and her family are only able to visit every few months because the prison is six hours away from their home in Punjab. 

The Daily Mail reports that their most recent meeting took place just before Eisham and her father came to the UK.  It lasted only 20 minutes and was under the supervision of prison guards. 

'It was a very emotional meeting, but I am confident in God and that He will set her free,' she said. 

Mr Masih said his wife has been kept in solitary confinement during her entire imprisonment out of concerns for her safety.  

In Pakistan, allegations of blasphemy can be deadly for those accused and their families.  Two ministers who spoke in support of Bibi's freedom, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, were both assassinated. 

Mr Masih fears his wife will not be safe in Pakistan even if her sentence is overturned and she is freed. 

'Asia is always saying "I am missing my children" and she is praying and praying to be free,' he said.

'We always trust in God to care for her during her suffering days. Physically and mentally she is as well as she can be.

'She has been in solitary confinement since day one as they fear someone might attack her.

'We believe they will set her free, but the circumstances are such that she would be unable to live in Pakistan as a free woman. She would not survive.'

Earlier this week, the British Pakistani Christian Association's Wilson Chowdhry called upon Western countries to offer asylum to Bibi in the event of her release. 

'Her release when declared must be met with an immediate response through offers for asylum from every country in the West. She deserves no less for her great stoicism,' he said.