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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pakistan court rules on Asia Bibi blasphemy charge, defers announcement

A court in Pakistan has reached a decision on whether Catholic woman Asia Bibi will become the first person to hang to death under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.

A special bench of the Supreme Court, sitting in Islamabad, reached a verdict on the fate of Bibi, but publication has been deferred until a later, unspecified date, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).

Mehwish Bhatti, an officer of the BPCA who was in the courthouse during the proceedings on 8th October, said the three judges “have come to a decision, but it has been reserved.”

Christians in Pakistan are conscious of the threat of an outbreak of rioting by Muslim mobs if Bibi is acquitted by the court, the BPCA said in a 7th October press release, even though they are praying ardently for her release.

Bibi has been held in solitary confinement since November 2010, when she was sentenced to hang for insulting Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

Ashiq Masih, her husband, told Catholic News Service in a 5th October interview that if Bibi is released she and her family will immediately seek sanctuary in one of several countries that have offered them exile, because it was too dangerous for them to remain in Pakistan.

Picture: Asia Bibi (British Pakistani Christian Association).