“I am satisfied with my Security in Jail” Asia Bibi told CLAAS


Lahore: December 30, 2011. (PCP) "I am satisfied with the security arrangements provided me by the jail authority and am also praying for them." Asia Bibi told a team of CLAAS, during visit to her in Seikhupura District Jail, as claimed by CLAAS pres

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five was sentenced to death on allegations of blasphemy and presently in security cell of Skeikhupura Jail waiting for her appeal in Lahore High Court LHC against her sentence. The CLAAS claims “Asia Bibi also pleaded with the international media to report accurately on her imprisonment as false reports about her health and other aspects of her imprisonment have "hurt" her“ The CLAAS is a Non-Governmental organization in Pakistan which provides legal aid to blasphemy victims and shelter persecuted Christians. There were reports of attack on Asia Bibi by jail official which were duly covered by national and international media. It seems that government of Pakistan under pressure of media reports intends to show conditions of Asia Bibi in jail as per manuals. ‘The CLAAS monitoring team has paid a visit to Asia Bibi to assess her treatment in prison and the security provisions made for her. The visit on Christmas Eve was made out of concern for her wellbeing following reports in the media that she had been tortured in prison” says CLAAS press release Asia explained to the CLAAS team that she had in fact been mistreated by a female guard in October. The guard, named Khateja, had been appointed to Asia by the jail authority and was initially caring towards her. "Unexpectedly, the guard started behaving offensively," she said. "I tried my level best to ignore her but in vain. On the day of the incident, the guard wanted to use my toilet, which is not allowed, and unexpectedly she forced me to open my cell door. I refused to open it and upon this, she tried to hound me but I was able to defend myself. "After hearing the noise in the cell, the other guards rushed into the cell and rescued me. Afterwards the guard was suspended from her duties for her misconduct." The team visiting Asia was headed by CLAAS National Director Joseph Francis and included CLAAS Program Officer Katherine Sapna and CLAAS Research Officer Nadeem Anthony. They found her to be in good physical and mental health but upset at the reality of being away from her three children for so long. They and her husband were able to visit Asia in prison on December 22. "I am suffering because of false allegations of blasphemy and being falsely blamed for disrespecting the Holy Prophet," she told the CLAAS team. "I never spoke a single word against the dignity of Islam. Nor can I think about insulting the honour of the Holy Prophet. "The blasphemy allegations are totally baseless." Asia expressed her anger with the officers investigating her case over their failure to follow proper procedure and ask for her account of events. Despite the difficulty of being in prison for more than a year and the remaining uncertainty about whether her death sentence for blasphemy will be overturned, Asia's faith remains strong. "The grace of God is with me and I am happy in God and always will be happy in God," she said. "I am daily praying for my country and praying to God that the Lord may protect Pakistan from all harm. "I am especially praying for those who are giving a bad image of Pakistan in the world and am also praying for those who falsely implicate me, that the Lord gives them wisdom so that they may not implicate the innocents in such cases." Asia said she was saddened by the murders of Governor Salman Taseer and Minority Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who spoke out on the misuse of the blasphemy law and tried to protect her. She also pleaded with the international media to report accurately on her imprisonment as false reports about her health and other aspects of her imprisonment have "hurt" her. At the same time, she encouraged people to continue praying for her. "I am thankful for those who are praying for me and my family," she said. "Please continue your prayers because I need your prayers. By the grace of Almighty God I am alright and praying for my safe exit from the false blasphemy charges." She added: "I want to wish a merry Christmas and very happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year to my fellow citizens as well as brothers and sisters internationally. "I am satisfied with the security arrangements provided me by the jail authority and am also praying for them." CLAAS also found the security arrangements for Asia to be satisfactory and hopes that the international media will be mindful of the sensitivity of the case in their reporting. We are still very much concerned for Asia and the other blasphemy prisoners in Pakistan who are suffering as a result of the discriminatory practices of the judicial system and grossly inadequate prison system. We remain committed to advocating for the fair and equal treatment of Christians in Pakistan, free from hatred, discrimination, violent attacks and mistreatment by extremists in the name of religion. CLAAS UK Coordinator Nasir Saeed said: "Asia Bibi continues to demonstrate remarkable strength of spirit despite the challenges she faces in overturning the death sentence handed to her for blasphemy. We see in her plight the very real suffering that the unjust application of the law is causing for Pakistan's Christians. What 2012 holds for Asia is difficult to say at this point. We continue to pray for a miracle for her and all other blasphemy prisoners. In the long-term, however, the only way to secure real and lasting change for Christians is reform of the blasphemy law and we will be campaigning hard for this throughout the year.

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"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com