Pakistan: Tensions rise over Asia Bibi

Source:                    www.MNNonline.org

Date:                        March 21, 2016

 

PUBLISHED ON 21 March, 2016 BY

Pakistan (MNN) — Demands for Asia Bibi’s execution are rising in Pakistan after the execution of an Islamic militant hero, Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) reports.

(Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

(Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

Extremist Mumtaz Qadri was executed on February 29, 2016, after assassinating Punjab Govenor Salmaan Taseer in 2011. Taseer was one of Bibi’s biggest supporters, ridiculing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, under which she is being held, and advocated for her release.

Qadri was seen as a hero among Islamic militants. When he was executed, explosive demands for Bibi’s hanging started. Intelligence reports have found Islamist groups plotting to have her killed in jail for vengeance. At Qadri’s funeral, a group of about 150,000 supporters gathered on the streets of Rawalpindi. Many were chanting for Bibi’s death.

The Express Tribune cites a statement from Islamabad’s Lal Masjid who called on the government to kill “the blasphemer Asia Bibi as soon as possible and not bow to international pressure.”

VOMC reports the government is keeping her safe despite the calls for her quick execution. Security has been tightened, Bibi is in isolation and is cooking her own food so no one can poison her food. The guards keeping watch have been assessed by intelligence agencies to make sure they are not extremists.

“Calls for her speedy execution have increased the risk to her life,” says Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, who expressed concern over her safety.

As demands rise, Bibi desperately needs prayer. Pray for her safety, for her faith in Christ to stay strong, and for her family’s trust in God to stay strong. Also pray for the protests to stop.

Bibi was found guilty for blasphemy in 2010 after an argument with a Muslim woman who accused her of contamination of water by drinking out of it. Blasphemy is not a subject taken lightly by the Pakistani government who sentences those who are guilty to the death penalty. Bibi has been on death row since her conviction.

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