Asia Bibi, the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, has called on the Prime Minister to help Christian girls in her country who are abducted, raped and forced to marry their captors.
“[Mr Pervaiz] has been in prison for seven years and [his children] haven’t been able to spend time with him. His youngest twins were born when he was arrested and he hasn’t held them in his lap or his arms,” said Mr Christopher.
Imran has protested his innocence and appealed the verdict. His lawyer said that the case against him has “substantial contradictions” in eyewitness statements about the date and time of the alleged incident.
After the latest verdict was announced, special security measures were put in place, with rangers and police forces deployed to enforce public order in the capital, Islamabad.
Rialto Bridge and waters of the Grand Canal in Venice bathed in crimson to draw attention to the discrimination that Christians like Asia Bibi suffer in many parts of the world.
The Church in Chains group has organised the vigil to highlight the “dreadful injustice” to Asia Bibi who is “still effectively a prisoner”, and that her life and that of her family are “in grave danger”.
“We thank God very much that he’s heard our prayers – and the prayers of so many people who have longed for Asia Bibi’s release over all these years of suffering and anguish.”
Pakistani Christian mother has been locked up in solitary confinement since 2010 after she was condemned to death under the country’s draconian blasphemy laws.
ACN is running a Go2Mass campaign where Catholics go to an extra Mass to pray for one of the 200 million Christians who are facing the threat of persecution or even death for their faith.
Meeting between Pontiff and the husband and daughter of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy, as well as Nigerian Rebecca Bitrus, who escaped from Boko Haram after two years in captivity.
“Today too the Church, to bear witness to the light and the truth, is experiencing severe persecution in different places, up to the supreme test of martyrdom.”
Human rights groups believe Pakistan's blasphemy laws are often used to discriminate against religious minorities, such as the country's estimated three million Christians.
Pakistan Supreme Court gives condemned woman leave to appeal. International pressure led to decision, says British Pakistani Christian Association. "Asia will have to spend more time in jail, but her freedom is now a real possibility."
Christian Solidarity Worldwide highlights "spurious grounds of her case, unfair trial proceedings and unjustified solitary confinement she has endured in jail."