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  • » 11/18/2010, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Some 2,500 people sign petition against Asia Bibi’s “disgraceful” sentence

    Jibran Khan

    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.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer told AsiaNews that Asia Bibi’s death penalty sentence is “a disgraceful episode. It is an embarrassment for Pakistan.”

    Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of three, has been in prison since last year after some Muslim women, fellow farm workers, accused her of blasphemy because of an altercation. A local court convicted her on the charges and sentenced her to death.

    “These laws are used to victimise Christians and other groups. They are a foul leftover from the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq,” Taseer explained.

    In an attempt to be reassuring, the governor insisted that the sentence would not be carried out since the appeal court still has to decide whether or not to uphold the sentence.

    Federal Minorities Minister Shabbaz Bhatti explained that the protection of the lives and property of members of minority groups is a constitutional obligation of the government.

    In a recent letter to the Government of Punjab, he asked that Asia Bibi be provided every opportunity to plead her case on its merits at the appeal court and that she be protected whilst in jail.

    He noted that in most cases, blasphemy is used to settle personal scores, carry out political vendettas or fuel religious tensions.

    In the meantime, AsiaNews’ campaign on Asia Bibi’s behalf continues. In just three days, more than 2,500 individuals, news agencies and associations have signed the appeal issued on 15 November.

    The international campaign has continued to draw support around the world. It has been picked up for example in Hungary and Eastern Europe, as confirmed by hundreds of e-mail messages coming from that region in the past few hours.

    Many more messages came in yesterday from Vietnam, China, Malaysia and other Asian countries.

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    See also

    22/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    Asia Bibi waiting for mercy from Pakistan President
    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.

    16/11/2010 PAKISTAN
    Bishop of Islamabad, Asia Bibi case "a disgrace" . A campaign by AsiaNews
    Mgr. Rufin Anthony the blasphemy law “must be repealed; it does not fit with 21st century world " Petitions to save Asia Bibi and repeal the blasphemy law in Pakistan, Italy, USA, India, France. Within hours, the AsiaNews site received over 500 signatures. Even cloistered monasteries prayfor Asia Bibi. A text to send to President Asif Zardari.

    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.



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