World needs to hear plight of 'many other' Christians imprisoned for blasphemy, says Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi

The world needs to "pay attention" to the plight of "many other" Christians in Pakistan languishing in prison because of the country's notorious blasphemy laws, Asia Bibi has said. 

Speaking to the Telegraph, the Christian mother of five, who spent nearly a decade on death row for blasphemy, said that many people in Pakistan were suffering because of accusations that had been made against them "without any proof". 

She said that those accused of blasphemy deserved a fair trial and that the blasphemy laws needed to be reviewed. 

"There are many other cases where the accused are lying in jail for years and their decision should also be done on merit. The world should listen to them," she said.

"I request the whole world to pay attention to this issue.  The way any person is alleged of blasphemy without any proper investigation without any proper proof, that should be noticed. This blasphemy law should be reviewed and there should be proper investigation mechanisms while applying this law. We should not consider anyone sinful for this act without any proof."

Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010 after a dispute arose with Muslim colleagues on the farm where she worked.  

Reflecting on her time in prison, she recalled how she used to "cry alone filled with pain and grief" and at times lost courage as she wondered whether she would ever be freed.

"My whole life suffered, my children suffered and this had a huge impact on my life," she said.

Blasphemy is considered a serious crime in the majority-Muslim country and carries a death sentence. Even those who are exonerated are often forced into hiding because of threats against their life.

Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court last October but her release triggered protests across Pakistan, with calls for her death sentence to be carried out. 

She was forced into hiding while her daughters were sent to Canada for their safety.  After the Pakistani authorities repeatedly delayed her departure from the country, in May she was finally able to join her daughters in Canada, where the whole family has been granted asylum.