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Pakistan: Asia Bibi's hearing delayed

13 October 2016

Asia Bibi's hearing delayed

The Pakistani Supreme Court has adjourned Asia Bibi's case after one of the three-member bench, Justice Iqbal Hamid-ur-Rehman, refused on the grounds that he has previously heard the Salman Taseer case.

Governor Salman Taseer was murdered by his bodyguard for publicly defending Asia Bibi.

A new date for the hearing has not yet been set.

Please pray:

  • That Asia's court hearing will come soon, and that her death sentence will finally be overturned
  • For comfort and strength for Asia and her family
  • For wisdom and courage for the judges and legal team involved in her case
  • For those who would seek to use this case to incite hatred and violence, that their hearts would be changed.


Urgent prayers requested as Asia Bibi reaches final appeal

11 October 2016

Pakistani Christians have asked their brothers and sisters worldwide to pray for Asia Bibi as her case is set to come to a climax this week.

Pakistan's Supreme Court will finally examine Asia Bibi's blasphemy case this Thursday. Many Christians will gather to pray for Asia and other Christians in prison because of the blasphemy law and they have strongly requested that brothers and sisters elsewhere will join them in petitioning to the Lord.

Asia was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for allegedly blaspheming the prophet Mohammed during an argument with local Muslim women, who refused to allow her to draw water from the well. She has been imprisoned since 2009. She was sentenced to death by a court - the first woman to be sentenced to death under Article 295C of Pakistan's penal code. This verdict was first upheld, but then later suspended by a higher court in July 2015.

Thursday - a crucial day

The case went to Pakistan's Supreme Court, which has to make the final decision about her case. Thursday is a crucial day for Asia and likely to be her last chance. In the past, Muslim extremists have been able to influence court decisions, but local Christians have told Open Doors' partners that they remain hopeful because of obvious mistakes that were made during the police investigation and court cases.

Asia is married to a man who had three children from a previous marriage and together they also had two children. She is 45 years old. Sometimes she is referred to as Aasiya Bibi, Noreen Bibi or Asia Noreen Bibi.

Other victims

The case has attracted worldwide attention and led to much criticism of Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.

It has also resulted in further loss of life: in 2011, Salmaan Taseer, the governor of the Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, national minorities' minister, were shot dead because of their support for Asia and criticism of what one observer called 'Pakistan's barbaric blasphemy laws'. Taseer's killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed in March 2016.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook, said, "The Supreme Court of Pakistan under the chair of Justice Saqib Nisar will hear Asia Bibi's appeal against her death sentence on Thursday, October 13 in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad.

"I am very hopeful and confident that my client will get justice... and she will be able to spend her life with her children."

Thank you to all who have prayed so faithfully for Asia over the past 7 years. Please join with many thousands of other Christians in Pakistan and around the world in praying for a just outcome this Thursday.

Source: Open Doors; AFP

Please pray:

  • Pray for Asia, that the Lord will use her testimony to draw people to him and to unite Pakistani Christians
  • Pray that Asia will receive much strength and hope from Thursday's court hearing. Pray that she will finally be released
  • Pray for the Christians who gather together to pray, that they will see the Lord's hand in these events
  • Pray for the judges, the lawyers and the prosecutors, that the Lord will work in their hearts
  • Pray for Muslim extremists, that they won't take revenge on her or others
  • Pray for the families of former governer Salmaan Taseer and former minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who were both assassinated for their efforts to help Asia - through this difficult time.

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Find out more about persecution in Pakistan.