No forgiveness for Asia Bibi in her old home town

Bibi's daughters pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura located in Pakistan's Punjab Province.Reuters

Former neighbours of Asia Bibi say the Christian woman freed from blasphemy charges should be executed. 

Bibi spent eight years on death row but was acquitted at the end of October and later freed from prison.  She and her family are now staying in a secret location after Muslim hardliners called for her death. 

Nearly 10 years after she was accused of blasphemy by colleagues on a farm in Ittan Wali, Punjab, her old neighbours show no signs of wanting to forgive the mother-of-five. 

Speaking to The Telegraph, Bibi's old neighbours remain unsympathetic. 

Mohammad Bota, the older brother of the farm owner on whose land Bibi was first accused, said there could be no forgiveness for blasphemers.

'She confessed her crime in front of them, how can they forgive her?' he said.

Other villagers share the same view. 

Local farmer Shawkat Ali said: 'I would die in the name of my religion and if someone has committed blasphemy, then they are not forgiven.

'If the Supreme Court has some faith in religion and if they are Muslims, they should execute her.'

Bibi was accused of blasphemy after drinking water from the same vessel as her Muslim colleagues.  The women were offended and complained to local cleric Qari Salam that she had blasphemed against the Prophet Muhammad. 

Salam told The Telegraph that October's acquittal was 'very disappointing' and that the women in the village share the anger over her release.

'We believe that our case was on merit and she deserves the death sentence according to the law,' he said. 

'Many women of the village, when they heard about this judgment, they were in shock. This is how strongly people feel, because this incident was so strong and so clear and in front of so many people.'

The risk to Bibi still looms as the Supreme Court is to review the acquittal at a hearing in January. Christian supporters are praying that the Supreme Court will uphold its original verdict and free Bibi to seek asylum abroad.

The family has asked several countries, including the UK, to grant asylum but no offer has been made yet. 

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, has been campaigning for an offer of asylum. 

He said: 'There can be no bystanders; everyone must offer asylum. We must ask ourselves the difficult questions which tell us who we are. No country that says they believe in democratic values can leave Asia Bibi at their gates.'