Fears grow for Aasia Bibi after Mumtaz Qadri's hanging

Published: March 5, 2016
Aasia Bibi. PHOTO: FILE

Aasia Bibi. PHOTO: FILE

Activists voiced new fears for a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, on death row for blasphemy, as religious groups launched fresh calls for her hanging after this week’s execution of Mumtaz Qadri.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother-of-five, whose plight has prompted prayers from the Vatican, has been on death row since she was convicted in 2010 of committing blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.

Supreme Court stays Aasia Bibi’s execution

Bibi’s lawyer Saif ul Mulook said Thursday religious groups have launched a “fresh offensive” against his client in the wake of the execution of Mumtaz Qadri.

A former police bodyguard, Qadri killed liberal Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in 2011, angered by his call to reform Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, as well as his promise to help Bibi.

Qadri’s actions saw him feted as a hero by extremists, and his funeral on Tuesday brought up to 100,000 people into the streets of Rawalpindi, many chanting for Bibi to be hanged.

On Thursday, a statement issued from Islamabad’s Lal Masjid called on the government to execute “the blasphemer Asia Bibi as soon as possible and not bow to international pressure”.

Christian activist Shamoon Gill, a long-time advocate for Bibi, said yesterday that extremist groups are “putting her life in danger”, citing police who warned him to be vigilant this week.

Even if authorities do not succumb to the pressure, religious groups could incite any of Qadri’s thousands of supporters to vigilante action, he warned.

Salmaan Taseer’s killer Mumtaz Qadri executed

Prison officials put Bibi in isolation in October over fears of attacks by vigilantes after the Supreme Court upheld Qadri’s death sentence.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan which carries the death penalty. The country has not yet executed anyone on the charge—but anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

Last year a British-Pakistani citizen who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy was shot and wounded by a guard at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail.

A Christian labourer and his wife were burned in a kiln last November after being accused of throwing pages of the Quran in the garbage.

Christian couple killed for ‘desecrating Holy Quran’ near Lahore: police

Critics including European governments claim the blasphemy laws are misused, with hundreds languishing in jails under false charges that could see them face fines, life imprisonment or death by hanging.

Small protests in cities including Islamabad after Friday prayers also saw Qadri supporters calling for Bibi to be hanged. In Hyderabad, demonstrators broke into the press club and beat up a journalist there, police said yesterday.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Mirza Asif Baig
    Mar 5, 2016 - 12:26PM

    If Mumtaz Qadari was executed to ensure the supremacy of Law then this lady should also be executed. Recommend

  • Mulla Jeevan
    Mar 5, 2016 - 12:29PM

    The law of the land is the law of the land. If she received a fair trial, the government should apply the law of the land. If she did not receive a fair trial, her case should be re-heard and preferably heard by the supreme court.Recommend

  • Raw is War
    Mar 5, 2016 - 2:43PM

    unable to understand the logic here. If Qadri was killed, why should she be hanged?Recommend

  • Imtiaz
    Mar 5, 2016 - 3:17PM

    Shame on those who attended the killer’s funeral. Qadri took an innocent life so he was deserve the death.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Mar 5, 2016 - 6:25PM

    @Mirza Asif Baig:

    If Mumtaz Qadari was executed to ensure the supremacy of Law then this lady should also be executed.

    Unfortunately for you, you are not the judge, jury and executioner. The court will decide on her fate and all Qadri supporters and you need to respect that decision.Recommend

  • lol
    Mar 5, 2016 - 7:53PM

    @Mirza Asif Baig:

    She did not put 28 bullets in an unarmed man, so no she should not receive the same punishment. Recommend

  • Mar 6, 2016 - 2:09AM

    Apologize to Asia Bibi and her family for illegal Muslim torture. Pay her Rs. 25 Lakhs per year of confinement plus a life time pension of Rs. 100,000 per month. Have each and every Mullah in Pakistan sign and publish apology for Blassphemy and wrongful Sharia Laws.Recommend

  • Subhan
    Mar 6, 2016 - 9:15AM

    It is not about how much bullets are fired, it is about what offense she has committed. She was trailed and found guilty of blasphemy. She was thus given a death penalty. I am not in the position to decided who lives or dies. So the responsible peple should take facts into account and take appropriate actions.Recommend

  • K J
    Mar 7, 2016 - 3:32AM

    @ Mirza Asif Baig and alike, whats your criteria of being born in a Muslim family and Asia Bibi’s misfortune that she was born in non-Muslim family, can you please ask your God why this happened or why He wanted it this way.Recommend

    Mar 7, 2016 - 8:13PM

    My dear brothers of Pakistan please show a big
    heart and forgive the Lady for God shake. Women’s gave birth to men pleases don’t kill her.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahsaan
    Mar 19, 2016 - 12:47AM

    The love for Muhammad SAAW Is above not only from the law of land but also from the so called law of universe too.
    It’s 100% realityRecommend

  • Muhammad Ahsaan
    Mar 19, 2016 - 12:49AM


  • Muhammad Ahsaan
    Mar 19, 2016 - 12:54AM

    Mr KJ
    Let me ask you that if it is not due to her own will to be born in a non Muslim family ?
    How can you defend that her words were not by her own will?????Recommend

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