Asia Bibi calls once again for the abolition of blasphemy laws in Pakistan

Asia was unjustly imprisoned for almost 10 years as a result of the abusiveness of these laws.

Asia Bibi
Asia Bibi

Newsroom( September 9, Gaudium Press) — Asia Bibi, has once again asked the Prime Minister of Pakistan to repeal the so-called anti-blasphemy law. This time,  she did it in an interview granted to  Aid to the Church in Need  foundation, (ACN).

Asia Bibi was in prison for almost 10 years, falsely accused of having violated that law. She currently lives in Canada.

Asia Bibi wanted to clarify her position on the anti-blasphemy law after an American TV station presented her position in an incomplete manner.

“At the moment of the founding of Pakistan and its separation from India, our founder Ali Jinnah, in his opening proclamation, guaranteed freedom of religion and thought to all citizens”,  Asia said in an interview with ACN’s Director in Italy.

Existing laws are often used to persecute religious minorities

“ But today there are some groups who are using the existing laws, and so I appeal to the Prime Minister of Pakistan – especially for the victims of the blasphemy laws and the girls who have been forcibly converted – to safeguard and protect the minorities, who are also Pakistani citizens. And as a victim myself, I am speaking from my own experience. I suffered terribly and lived through so many difficulties, but now I am free and I hope that these laws can be changed in such a way as to prevent any abuse of them.” recalled Asia.

The “blasphemy laws” were incorporated into Pakistan’s Penal Code in 1986 (sections 295 B, 295 C, 298 A, 298 B, 298 C).  In practice they represent an enormous restriction on freedom of religion and expression. Defiling the Quran and insulting Muhammad are crimes punishable by life imprisonment and death respectively. However, these laws are often used to persecute religious minorities.

Huma Younus and Maira Shahbaz, for example, are two young Christian victims of abuse whose cases are being fought with help from ACN, and by a constant campaign to raise awareness in the media. Asked about their case, Asia responded: “I know these girls are being persecuted and I appeal to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, to help our girls because none of them should have to suffer!

She conveyed her thanks to Popes Benedict and Francis for their help, her desire to go to Rome to visit the Pope, and also her thanks “to ACN and all its benefactors around the world for supporting people who are persecuted like me because of their faith.”

With information from Cope

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