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Asia Bibi

Following a confrontation while picking fruit with Muslim co-workers, Asia Bibi was accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Mohammed after drinking water from the village well. As a non-Muslim, the Christian mother of five was considered unfit to touch the water, thus making it impure. According to other witnesses, a group of men and women then began beating Asia, claiming that she had made derogatory remarks against Mohammed, a charge she denies. Several days later, blasphemy allegations were filed, resulting in the November 2010 conviction. (A previous report on Asia's situation is available here.)

Four years later, after losing the initial appeal in the High Court of Lahore, Asia, who remained in prison on death row, is now sentenced to be hanged. Although acquittals are rare in blasphemy cases, on November 24th a second appeal was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Raising global criticism and serious concerns about the fairness of her trial, Amnesty International has called for her release. Asia's husband, Ashiq Masih, has also made a personal plea to Pakistan's president, Mamnoon Hussain, asking that the sentence be overturned. "My prison cell has no windows, and day and night are the same to me," states Asia. "But if I am still holding on today, it is with thanks to everyone who is trying to help me."

In a country where about 96 percent of the population is Muslim, Christians living in Pakistan constantly risk persecution in the form of threats, attacks, discrimination, and possible death. According to human rights defenders, the current blasphemy laws pose great dangers to Christians, as well as members of other religious minorities. Blasphemy remains a highly sensitive issue in this country, as even unproven allegations continue to erupt in violence. For a brief overview of such cases in this country, go to the Pakistan Country Report.

May the reverential fear of the one true God -- the Creator of the vast universe and all humankind -- come upon Pakistan's governing leaders and judicial authorities. He has promised to contend with those who contend with His people, and to mete out justice and vengeance on behalf of the innocent and upright of heart. One day, these leaders themselves will stand before the Throne of the Great Judge to give an account of their actions and decisions. In the meantime, we can be assured that the Lord is hearing the heartfelt cries of His people, as Asia's situation raises international concern. Please continue to uphold this dear suffering sister of ours, realizing that the prayers of God's people have been greatly sustaining her. Let us pray for a greater measure of His divine strength, protection, peace and unfailing presence as Asia and her family await the outcome of yet another appeal...beseeching authorities to extend compassion, mercy, favour and ultimately freedom to her and all those who are experiencing persecution for their faith in this country.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC partners to train Christian women in sewing skills throughout Pakistan to provide a sustainable source of income for their families and encourage them in their faith and witness for Christ.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

Population
238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

Leader
President Arif Alvi (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Common law system with Islamic law influence

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Pakistan

Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.

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