Christians still fearful in Pakistan, says Aasia Bibi

February 1, 2020

Persecution of Pakistani Christians: Asia Bibi was on death row for years in Pakistan for saying to a group of Muslim women: “I’m not going to convert. I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?”

Asia Bibi’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court and she was able to leave the country. However, many people who have been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have been imprisoned and even lynched by mobs without ever having been tried. Bibi here warns that all the Christians of Pakistan “live with this sword of Damocles over their head.”

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Christians still fearful in Pakistan, says Aasia Bibi,” Tribune India, February 1, 2020:

For nearly a year, Aasia Bibi, a death row prisoner in Pakistan and now rehabilitated in Canada, has not been heard of. A Christian, her trauma began when she intervened in a fight and was herself charged with blasphemy, a law in Pakistan’s books which has been criticised by the entire spectrum of civil society. A trial court in 2010 sentenced her to death on blasphemy charges and her fate hung in balance for eight long years till she was acquitted by a higher court and allowed to leave for Canada.

Now, a book details the years of uncertainty and terror that Aasia Bibi spent for eight years on the death row. The book ‘Enfin libre!’ (Finally Free!) by French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet is out in French while the English version will hit the stands in September.

“You are far from understanding my daily life in prison or my new life. I became a prisoner of fanaticism and tears were the only companions in the cell,” she co-wrote about the dreadful conditions in filthy jails, where she was chained and other inmates were allowed to taunt her and demand a death sentence for her.

“My wrists are burning me, it is hard to breathe. My neck is encased in an iron collar that the guard can tighten with a huge nut. A long chain drags along on the filthy ground. This connects my neck to the handcuffed hand that pulls me like a dog on a lead. Deep within me, a dull fear takes me towards the depths of darkness. A lacerating fear that will never leave me,” she recalls.

What about the conditions of Christians in Pakistan now that she has been freed? “Even with my freedom, the climate does not seem to have changed and Christians can expect all kinds of reprisals. They live with this sword of Damocles over their head,” she said….