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24 December 2011

Pakistan: Christian woman condemned to death for her faith forgives her tormenters

asia bibi.jpgPakistan's Mashi Foundation, which advocates for human rights and interfaith understanding, issued a press release from

Brussels concering Asia Bibi: a Pakistani Christian woman who is facing a death sentence under Muslim law for alleged blasphemy. The Masihi Foundation's International delegation met Asia Bibi last week at the District Jail Sheikpura to deliver Christmas greetings, in fulfillment of a Christian mandate "… Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

Mashi Foundation is providing legal assistance to Asia Bibi at the Lahore High Court (LHC) as her appeal is still pending.

Since the assassination of the Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer by Islamist terrorists, this is the first time any delegation has met Asia Bibi.

Her solitary confinement has taken a toll: Asia now appears much older than her 46 years. She has become frail during her confinement.

Despite her pale looks, she is in high spirits. Her trail of thoughts were drifting all the time during the conversation. She reacted with mixed emotions, laughing, crying and going silent for long period of time.

For the first 10 minutes she was unable to make up her mind or how to react and she could not see whether we were friends or enemies. At times she mentioned that she hasn’t been taken seriously by anyone; she was frightened and seemed very cold and nervous

Asia was assured by the delegation that Masihi Foundation has provided the best legal panel for her appeal at the Lahore High Court (LHC). Her tone of voice was very low and soft, sitting only 4 feet away she looked fragile and a broken women.

When asked about how she was treated by the jail authorities, she shifted, looked around and kept silent.

Here follows an interview with Asia Bibi:

What are your expectations for the future? What do you think will happen to you?

Simply I don’t know. but what do you think can happen to me? I pray and fast for my family. I want to be with my family. I want to hug my daughters, I am hopeful that I will be released one day.

Do you have a message for the Christians in Pakistan and around the world who have been praying for you?

I will request them to keep praying for me so that I get united with my family and I am thankful to them for their prayers.

Is there any date of the month that is special for you?

I have lost all sense of celebrations, the only day I know, detest and unfortunately remember is the 9th of June the darkest day of my life when I was arrested, it was the most painful day of my life. I would not wish this Godforsaken day even on my worst enemy. What me and my family has experienced on the 9th of June, it was a nightmare for us I have lost track of all times, I have no idea about any season, time, day or month, they do not matter to me any more as I am an illiterate woman and the only knowledge I have obtained is by going to Sunday school.

Do you think you can forgive the people who got you arrested?

Firstly NO, would you forgive?

She showed her frustration, she got aggressive, clinched her fists, swore under her breath.

Although I am illiterate, but still I am a Christian, my religion teaches me to forgive.

Laughing, she added:

Initially when I was thrown in the jail, I was so angry and wanted revenge as they had separated me from my family, but when I fasted and prayed and this is strange I have already forgiven those people who blamed me of blasphemy. This is a chapter in my life I want to forget.

After the meeting, Asia Bibi had the following 2 questions:

What are you going to do now? When will I be released?



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