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  • » 11/22/2010, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Asia Bibi waiting for mercy from Pakistan President

    Jibran Khan

    The family of the woman sentenced to death for blasphemy is confident that a solution will be found very soon. Punjab governor is optimistic about a positive outcome to the affair. People continue to sign the AsiaNews online petition at salviamoasiabibi@asianews.it.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) – Punjab Governor Salman Taseer on Saturday said that he hoped that President Asif Ali Zardari would approve and sign the plea by Asia Bibi, a Christian woman detained and sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy.

    He made the comment to journalists after visiting Asia Bibi in Shaikhupura District Prison. He explained that Asia Bibi’s plea for mercy had already been sent to the President and that he hoped to see the latter approve her request and sign it soon.

    “It has nothing to do with religion; it’s about humanity,” the governor of Punjab insisted. Poor people, he noted, are usually helpless; when they are dragged into such cases, they become the object of ridicule. He would not however comment on the court’s verdict.

    "I have small children," pleaded Asia Bibi, wearing a veil covering all but her eyes. "For God's sake, please set me free."

    “I want my mother to be released in time for Christmas, so we can celebrate together,” Bibi's 18-year-old daughter, Sidra, told AsiaNews.

    Asia Bibi’s entire family is waiting for President Zardari’s decision. Ms Bibi has been in prison for a year and half. During that time, she was convicted for blasphemy.

    "I just want to see my mother," said ten-year-old Esha, between sobs.

    Esha is a special child and is very attached to her mother, who used to take care of her. She is one of Asia’s five children. The others are Naseem, the eldest who is married and lives away from the family home, Imran (22), Sidra (18) and Esham (9).

    “I saw my mother Tuesday after a long time,” Esha said. However, she is afraid that “they are going to let her die in prison.”

    In the meantime, the campaign by AsiaNews to get Asia Bibi released continues. So far, 4,000 people have signed up. More support is pouring in. Messages are not coming from only Italy. Many are from Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia), Vietnam, Spain, United States as well as Japan, not to mention Latin America.

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    See also

    18/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    Some 2,500 people sign petition against Asia Bibi’s “disgraceful” sentence
    Our appeal is picked up in Hungary and Eastern Europe. Punjab governor calls Bibi’s case “disgraceful”, an “embarrassment for Pakistan”. Pakistan’s Minorities minister says the sentence will not be carried out and that the woman can appeal the verdict.

    17/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    People around the world signing petition to save Asia Bibi
    In two days, more than 1,300 people sign a petition launched by AsiaNews to save the life of the Pakistani woman sentenced to death on false blasphemy charges. Hundreds of messages have come in from Spain and Latin America, but also Vietnam, China and Malaysia. Hundreds of women protested yesterday for Asia Bibi against the blasphemy law.

    23/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    Asia Bibi is innocent, minorities minister says in report to President Zardari
    The report is set to be given today to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who could grant a pardon in the near future. Religious parties threaten street protests around the country if the woman is freed.

    30/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    Lahore High Court to issue date for Asia Bibi’s appeal
    President Zardari’s legal expert says the woman was convicted without been able to present her side of the story. “Some people are trying to politicise the matter and create a gap between the judiciary and the government,” a presidential spokesman says. The AsiaNews online petition on behalf of Asia Bibi and against the blasphemy law continues.

    25/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    No news about Asia Bibi’s fate as her release might take longer
    Her petition for clemency has not yet been filed. Some believe she should appeal first to the Lahore High Court, then the Supreme Court. Cardinal Tauran arrives in Pakistan today.



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