The Pen

Pakistan: Death or Life for Christian “Blasphemer?”

Gatestone Institute

• In her memoirs, Asia Bibi wonders “whether being a Christian in Pakistan today is not just a failing, or a mark against you, but actually a crime.” Her question is finally about to be answered by Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

• Because the word of a Christian is not valid against the word of a Muslim, blasphemy accusations by Muslims against Christians are common and routinely result in the imprisonment, beating and even murder of Christians — as when 1,200 Muslims deliberately burned a young Christian couple to death in 2014 for allegedly insulting Islam.

• “The Maulvis [clerics] want her dead. They have announced a [monetary] prize… for anyone who kills Asia. They have even declared that if the court acquits her they will ensure the death sentence stands.” — Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih.

• This is arguably why Pakistani authorities continue to delay issuing a final verdict — to give Bibi time to die “naturally” in prison — as other Christians have, under “mysterious” circumstances. Instead of placating the world but angering Islamists by releasing her, or placating Islamists but horrifying the world by executing her, the Pakistani judicial system has abandoned Bibi to a deathtrap of a prison cell for a decade, where wretched conditions, severe maltreatment, unattended illnesses, psychological abuse and beatings should have killed her, as they have many others before her.

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