Pakistani Christian on death row acquitted of blasphemy

Asia Bibi to be freed after nine years imprisonment

Asia Bibi was arrested for blasphemy in 2009

By Chris Shearer

November 1 2018Pakistan’s top court has acquitted Asia Bibi, the Christian woman held on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy against Islam.

Ms Bibi has been facing execution since 2010, with her cause becoming an international focal point for the country’s strict blasphemy laws.

Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier wrote to the then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the Pakistani High Commissioner to Australia in 2016 about the case, asking them to pursue justice for Ms Bibi and for protection for Christians in Pakistan who go constantly in fear of their lives and property.

The worldwide Anglican Consultative Council also stood in solidarity with Asia Bibi.

Dr Freier said following the acquittal: “We rejoice now in her acquittal and that justice has been done.”

On 1 November the Australian Christian Lobby called on the Federal Government to offer Asia Bibi and her family asylum here in Australia, saying that those acquitted of blasphemy in the past have been killed. According to Reuters at least 65 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations in Pakistan since 1990.

Ms Bibi was arrested in 2009 following a quarrel with two Muslim women in which they claimed she made derogatory remarks about Islam after they refused to drink from a glass she had used.