Fair Trial


Shamim Masih examines religious and minority suffering in Pakistan using the Asia Bibi acquittal of her accused Blasphemy as a launching point.

JRH 2/8/19

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Fair Trial

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent: February 4, 2019 9:40 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan, finally set aside a review petition of a Christian woman Asia Bibi, accused of blasphemy, after spent more than 8 years in prison. The decision is being warmly welcomed by rights activists, local and international community. The judgement is unclear about the action against those who falsely accused her of blasphemy and gave false testimonies to mislead the court and public though. I’m not law expert but the law teachers said that ‘for every wrong, the law provides a remedy’. He who wrongs another is to be punished. But there are significant remarks by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) while grilling the petitioner’s lawyer.

 

All we can say is, ‘little drop of water in the mighty ocean’. CJP Khosa rebuked the witness for lying under oath, and added that they would have been jailed for life if the case wasn’t so sensitive. But there is provision in law if Asia Bibi’s lawyer takes up the issue and files a case against those who falsely accused her of blasphemy, the courts would be morally bound to award a punishment to Asia’s tormentors. But victims of blasphemy in Pakistan usually refrain from challenging the false accusers even after they are acquitted.

 

The UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt though welcomes this judgement during his launching speech on Persecution of Christians across the Globe independent review. He said, ‘I think the news about Asia Bibi this week is extremely encouraging, but the truth is that unless we make a real effort and unless the world knows that we are making a real effort, those bits of good news will become the exception and not the rule. And that’s what we don’t want to allow to happen’. He also showed his concerns about the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and said, ‘we particularly want to look at the issue of Christian persecution’. The US has already conveyed the concerns of the Christians persecution in Pakistan and Pakistan has been denying it.

 

As citizens, we have reciprocal rights and responsibilities. But in Pakistan, we have experienced that government always see the win-win situation. In the late November, 2018 the Prime Minister Imran Khan laid foundation stone for Kartarpur Corridor. The gesture is a breakthrough between two neighbouring countries and Pakistan widely claimed as protecting minorities’ rights. Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal told the media in Islamabad before leaving for Kartarpur that the opening of the Kartarpur border was the historic step for welfare of minorities. ‘It shows that Pakistan takes care of minorities,’ he said.

 

Undoubtedly this is a significant move by the Pakistani government, if the dream comes true as there are grievances from the both sides. But if we see the govt. is playing and protecting minorities’ rights are only slogans. A delegation of young Pakistani Catholics was prevented by government officials from flying out of the country to join the Jan. 22-27 World Youth Day in Pakistan. The Fides news agency reported that 14 young Pakistani Catholics with regular visas who were about to fly out to join the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day (WYD) in Panama were blocked at Lahore airport by Pakistan’s Department for Immigration Office. World Youth Day is an event for young people organized by the Catholic Church, which was initiated by Pope John Paul 2 in 1985. It is religious gathering and being organised every year by the Catholic Church.

 

The threatening letter to Churches issued by the local government is a clear violation of the Constitution of the country but also violating the international obligations. The Punjab government issued letter on January 02, 2019 saying to take all security arrangements and concerned departments are also directed to close/seal the Churches if in case failure of compliance of directives. While in the Constitution, the state is responsible to safe guard the rights and worship places of the minorities. Article 20 does not merely confer a private right to profess but confers a right to practice both privately and publicly. The state shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities and the ultimate goal of the state should be to eradicate religious intolerance in Pakistan.

 

The sad reality is that such a policy exits on paper only. Religious and ethnic minorities continue to suffer discrimination. This continues despite the constitutional obligation to protect the life, property and worship places of all citizens regardless of their caste, ethnicity, religion or gender. The state plays the role of the bystander when human rights abuses occur at the hands of the powerful majority groups.

 

Minorities have regularly been hoodwinked into believing that their rights shall be guaranteed and protected by the state. The state shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities and the ultimate goal of the state should be to eradicate religious intolerance in Pakistan. Ends/

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

Diplomatic Correspondents

Online Int’l News Networks

Daily Jinnah [Urdu]

Daily Morning Mail

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer

+92-300-642-4560

[Blog Editor: Shamim also does Christian activism in Pakistan. It can be dangerous work in Islamic Pakistan. Please consider a contribution. The last I heard services like PayPal are not supported in Pakistan. The Western Union is a good way to send money which will transfer into Pakistan Rupee – https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/send-money.html; Shamim Masih; Islamabad; +92-300-642-4560.

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Edited by John R. Houk

Source links supplied by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

 

Interview with the Polish Ambassador


Piotr Opaliński – Poland Ambassador to Pakistan

 

Shamim Mahmood – a Pakistani Christian advocate/journalist – has submitted some interesting information on foreign relations between Pakistan and Poland derived from Ambassador Piotr A. Opalinski.

 

JRH 2/3/19

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Interview with the Polish Ambassador

 

By SHAMIM MAHMOOD

Sent 2/2/2019 11:43 PM

 

ISLAMABAD (Online) Mr. Piotr A. Opalinski, the Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan has said that Poland values its historical links with Pakistan and enjoys the multifaceted collaboration. Currently, the two countries are significantly developing their political, economic and defence cooperation. The current trade volume is reaching a half billion Euro and there are good prospects for the further growth of their bilateral trade. Peace and stability are the key for the development of the region. Poland supports the peace process in Afghanistan and acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating the talks between the US and Taliban.

 

Talking to the ‘Online News Agency’ in an exclusive interview, the Polish Ambassador Mr. Piotr Opalinski said that the relations between Pakistan and Poland are ‘excellent and very cordial’. He pointed out both at the ongoing political dialogue as well as enhancement of economic cooperation, especially in the areas of energy and exploration of natural resources, in which Polish companies have been engaged in Pakistan since last 20 years. He said that Poland’s vast expertise and long tradition in coal mining, defence production, agriculture and food processing offered new opportunities for the mutually beneficial cooperation in these areas as well.

 

Ambassador said, that Poland supported the inclusion of Pakistan in the GSP Plus by the European Union (EU) to grant non-reciprocal preferential treatment to Pakistan’s exports. He emphasized that the geographical location of Poland in the exact centre of Europe made it very suitable to become a hub for Pakistani products designed for the European market. The bilateral trade volume in 2018 raised to about 500 million Euro. The trade balance is in favour of Pakistani exports, mainly textiles (90 percent), with a relatively smaller share of leather products, sportswear, foodstuff and surgical instruments.

 

Ambassador Opalinski also said, in the area of development cooperation Poland was directly working with Pakistani partners – local organisations capable of a very efficient implementation of the projects. Some of the best examples of educational projects supported i.e. by the Polish Embassy were the primary schools in Kaghan Valley and Bari Imam area of Islamabad. They are providing quality education, counselling and medical care for the children.

 

Answering a question about visa policy, the Ambassador said it was based on the common Schengen Visa Code, as Poland, being one of 26 Schengen Member States, issues the visas allowing for a border-free movement of travellers in the whole area in all categories of travels – businessmen, tourists, students etc. The available statistics indicate that the number of visitors from Pakistan to Poland is gradually increasing.

 

Talking about the regional and international situation, the Ambassador appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process and its efforts in facilitating the talks between the US leadership and Taliban. Poland wholeheartedly supports peaceful resolution of the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, to the benefit, stability and development of the whole region.

 

Recollecting his very good personal experiences of nearly ten years of diplomatic service in Pakistan (first tenure as Deputy Head of Mission and now as Ambassador) Mr. Piotr Opalinski said the Polish-Pakistani friendship, transcending through different times and geographical distance was deeply-rooted in history and time-tested. He referred to the memories of Polish refugees who were granted shelter in Karachi during the World War and to the Polish pilots, who made a great contribution to the development of the PAF and civil aviation at the nascent stage of Pakistan’s statehood. He said, all this, and more fascinating stories of Polish-Pakistani personal relations of friendship, would be described in an excellent book “Freedom Under the Pakistani Sky” by Polish author Mrs. Anna T. Pietraszek [Polish Wikipedia], which is going to be launched in Pakistan later this year. Ends/

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondents

Online Int’l News Networks

Daily Jinnah [Urdu]

Daily Morning Mail

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer

+92-300-642-4560

[Blog Editor: Shamim also does Christian activism in Pakistan. It can be dangerous work in Islamic Pakistan. Please consider a contribution. The last I heard services like PayPal are not supported in Pakistan. The Western Union is a good way to send money which will transfer into Pakistan Rupee – https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/send-money.html; Shamim Mahmood; Islamabad; +92-300-642-4560.

+++++++++++

Blog Editor: This Facebook video should be of interest in relation to Polish refugees helping to build the Pakistan Air Force after WWII:

___________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Source links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

Surprising New Allies for Asia Bibi?


Asia Bibi spent about nine years on a Pakistani prison death row convicted under Islamic Supremacist Blasphemy laws. Only because some Muslim accusers couldn’t get their story straight, the Pakistan Supreme Court set aside her conviction. Her accused crime: Refreshing her thirst at a Muslim well (which irritated Muslims anyway) in which an argument with Muslim co-workers over who was better person – Jesus or Muhammad (Undoubtedly giving the Islamic Supremacists the excuse to cause harm to the Christian Asia Bibi – aka Aasiya Noreen).

 

Asia Bibi is out of prison yet STILL stashed away by the Pakistan government hoping a nation will step up against Islamic Supremacism and grant her and her family asylum. A CFI article has a story that some prestigious Pakistan Muslim scholars are condemning the violence aimed at Asia Bibi. I’m still not reading an asylum promise.

 

JRH 1/11/19

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Surprising New Allies for Asia Bibi?

 

January 11, 2019

Christian Freedom International

 

Photo from AsiaNews.it

 

Pakistan Muslim Clerics Denounce Violence

 

Over 500 Muslim scholars gathered in Pakistan to condemn terrorism and extremism. They signed a declaration rejecting violence and murder committed “under the pretext of religious belief” and criticized the use of fatwas (edicts) by radical clerics.

 

They also called Asia Bibi’s case an absolute “priority”. The Christian mother was acquitted of blasphemy after 9 years in jail but lives in hiding from violent mobs organized by extremist Islamist leaders. Pakistan’s Supreme Court called the case a “feast of falsehoods” and her accusers were guilty of insulting her Christian beliefs.

 

Christians in Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries live in constant fear of rising radicalism. “Refugees tell us that the spread of Islamist ideology turns life-long neighbors into terrorists,” said Wendy Wright with Christian Freedom International.

 

The Pakistan Ulema Council signed the declaration in Islamabad on January 6, 2018. Muslim scholars formed the group to be a voice for peace, stability and religious harmony in the county. They declared 2019 a “Year to annihilate terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from Pakistan” and stated, “non-Muslim citizens must enjoy the same rights as everyone else.”

 

“We tried to issue a similar declaration in 2002,” the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council told ucanews.com, “but the government ignored such efforts. People were afraid to speak about harmony between sects and other faiths.”

 

The declaration states all citizens, regardless of religion “have the constitutional right to live in the country following their cultural and religious principles”. The government must “ensure the protection of the life and property of non-Muslims living in Pakistan.”  Murder in the name of religion “is contrary to the teachings of Islam”.

 

The clerics affirmed the right for religious groups to meet and organize and asks authorities to ban “any material (books, pamphlets, audio) that incites religious hatred” and to punish anyone that threatens “the sacred places of non-Muslims”.

 

The resolution also criticizes fatwas against public servants.

 

The Pakistan Ulema Council plans to keep a check on non-Islamic decrees beginning in late March. Over 5,000 religious scholars and clerics will meet in Islamabad in March for “The 4th International Message of Islam Conference”.

 

Radical Islamists killed two government officials who defended Asia Bibi, and threatened to murder Pakistan justices who acquitted Asia Bibi.

 

“Too many leaders – religious and government – fear criticizing radical Islamists. This declaration is a step toward countering Islamists’ murderous hatred and promoting respect and rights for Christians,” said Wendy Wright.

 

This article was compiled from reports from Asia News, Zenit and UCANews

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© 2018 Christian Freedom International. All Rights Reserved.

To God be the Glory

 

About CFI

 

Our Mission

 

The mission of Christian Freedom International is to help Christians who are persecuted and suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. We are a non-denominational human rights organization providing real solutions to conditions of oppression and misery caused by religious persecution. We reach the part of the persecuted Church that is the most repressed, most at risk, and most isolated. In areas of disaster, we provide immediate relief to Christians, and their communities, who are ignored by conventional aid organizations.

 

It is our privilege to minister to the Persecuted through Bible distribution, medical aid, resettlement assistance, advocacy, asylum case-work, and aid to the disabled; to sponsor schools, vocational training, and self-help initiatives; to provide these services at no charge by CFI staff and volunteers. It is our goal to work together with Christians at home to ease the burdens of our struggling brethren around the world.

 

Our History

 

Since 1998, Christian Freedom International has been on the forefront in the battle for the rights of persecuted Christians around the world. CFI has come to the aid of thousands of suffering men, women, and children through the distribution of food, water, medicine, clothing, Bibles, and other basic supplies in countries where persecution is most intense. CFI has built field hospitals, schools in refugee camps, Bible Schools, and Centers to aid disabled Christians. But CFI’s work is not limited to the distribution of relief aid. Over the years, CFI has consistently remained active as a “voice for the voiceless” in Washington, DC, providing political advocacy and practical grassroots action on behalf of the millions of Christians who routinely suffer for their faith.

 

CFI Logo

 

The CFI logo is of a lone CFI Backpack medic delivering aid to Christians in the war-zones of Burma. In 1998, CFI pioneered the backpack medic program and the lifesaving work has continued ever since.

 

READ THE REST

 

Persecuted Asia Bibi NEEDS ASYLUM after Release from Pakistan Prison


John R. Houk

© November 16, 2018

 

Asia Bibi & Pakistani Muslim Protestors

 

I have followed the plight of persecuted Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi for many years now. In case you haven’t heard of her, here is the simple outrageous circumstances Asia has faced for nearly a decade.

 

Asia Bibi (aka Aasiya Noreen) was sentenced to death because she defended Jesus to fellow Muslim laboring women angry Asia was drinking from a Muslim designated well (a description from a 2016 post):

 

Asia was raised in Ittan Wali, a small, rural village in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab, thirty miles outside of Lahore, and one day in 2009, she was picking berries in the sweltering heat, in a field with a group of Muslim women, who worked on the farm of Muslim landowner, Muhammad Idrees. Her family was one of only three Christian families in the village of more than 1,500 families

 

During this time, she was asked by some of the other women, to get some water for them from a well. On the long and dusty walk back, she took a sip of water from the vessel, and when the Muslim women discovered this they became extremely angry, and in an exchange, she told them: “Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins…. Our Christ is alive.”

 

After uttering these words that she used to defend her faith against the mocking co-workers who tried to make her convert to Islam, she could never have dreamed the shocking consequences that would follow.

 

The Muslim women began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

 

 

“Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into protective custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but the police claimed they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.”

 

After a lengthy trial, on Nov. 8, 2010, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. …. (FRESH CALL FOR RELEASE OF ASIA BIBI; By Dan Wooding [Intro by John R. Houk]; SlantRight 2.0; 5/17/16)  

 

She language in prison for eight years not knowing if the death sentenced would be carried out, fearing for her life from prison guards & prison inmates as well as existing in squalid conditions that threatened her life. On October 31, 2018 Pakistan’s highest court finally resisted Muslim death threats and overturned her death sentence due to inconsistent evidence. BUT the Pakistan government kept Asia languishing in prison fearing Muslim bloodthirsty Muslim rioting.

 

Protests among bigoted Muslims wanting to hang Asia Bibi for blaspheming their false prophet became rampant anyway. Indeed, the so-called religion of peace Muslims began attacking Pakistani Christians because the government was hiding Asia Bibi from Islamic Supremacist Muslim mobs:

 

Muslim Mob Burning Asia-Bibi likeness

 

These Muslims are so mad for the blood of one poor Christian woman, who has already suffered on death row for eight years, that they are taking out their bloodlust on random Christians within the country. This is a human rights abuse of monumental proportions, but you won’t hear a word about it from the United Nations or the world “human rights” organizations. They’re too busy looking for new ways to condemn Israel.

 

“Report: Unable to Reach Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Islamists Attacking Random Christians,” by Edwin Mora, Breitbart, November 12, 2018 (Unable to Reach Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Muslims Attacking Random Christians; By Pamela Geller; Geller Report; 11/14/18)

 

I am finding out from the National Review that the Pakistan government has finally released Asia Bibi from prison but – so far – has kept her and her family’s location secret from the Pakistani public.

 

Asia Bibi and family need asylum outside of Pakistan if their survival is to prevail. The so-called tolerant Brits and EU Multiculturalist governments have refused asylum because they all have admitted so many Islamic Supremacists into their nations, THEY ALL FEAR bloody Muslim rioting!

 

I have discovered that Senator Rand Paul has taken up Asia Bibi and Family’s asylum cause calling on President Trump to grant asylum:

 

A top Republican Senator has urged US President Donald Trump to grant asylum and refugee status to Pakistani national Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned.

 

Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was released from Multan jail earlier this month after the Supreme Court in its landmark decision acquitted her of blasphemy charges.

 

Senator Rand Paul said that he was worried that Bibi won’t survive and he personally took up the matter with President Trump last week.

 

“I’ve been fighting for them to free Asia Bibi. I’ve talked to the President about granting her asylum and refugee status here,” Paul told CNN in an interview.

 

A senior member from an American think-tank has also suggested that Bibi should request asylum.

 

“President Trump should invite Ms Bibi to come to America and request asylum. To do so would be just, moral and wise,” Clifford D May, president of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said in an op-ed in The Washington Times this week. (US Senator seeks political asylum for Asia Bibi; By PTI; The Indian Express; 11/16/18 12:44:33 pm)

 

Below is the National Review article that has a great update on Asia Bibi.

 

Further Reading:

 

Pakistani blasphemy law victim Asia Bibi released – The Australian

 

A Deadly Legal Limbo: Why Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi’s Life Is Still in Danger – CBN News

 

PAKISTAN: “Help us leave” pleads Asia Bibi’s family – Aid to the Church in Need

 

Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi freed from jail – BBC

 

JRH 11/16/18

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The Lessons of the Asia Bibi Case

 

By NINA SHEA

November 16, 2018 6:30 AM

National Review

 

The daughters of Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother outside their residence in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, in 2010. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

 

Pakistan has released the purported blasphemer against Islam. Now what nation will have the courage to grant her asylum?

 

Asia Bibi, the Catholic mother imprisoned in Pakistan for nine years and condemned to hang for violating that country’s strict blasphemy law, has drawn broad sympathy throughout the West. Lacking credible evidence, and despite her denials, lower courts plainly yielded to Islamist pressure in making the illiterate field hand the first Pakistani woman to be given a death sentence for insulting Islam’s prophet, Mohammed. Then on October 31, Bibi finally received justice in an acquittal by Pakistan’s supreme court. But when she was released a week later, she found that mobs were baying for her blood throughout Pakistan — and, most surprisingly, that the West held out no firm offer of a safe haven.

 

Islamabad has given assurances that Bibi has been taken to a secret, secure location inside Pakistan, pending a permanent place of refuge. But her escape seems stalled. The West’s response so far of passive hand-wringing while Bibi faces mortal danger indicates more than poor planning; it shows a failure to fully comprehend the deeply radicalizing effects of the blasphemy taboo within the world’s second-largest Muslim nation — and the inroads it has made in the West.

 

Western leaders have consistently expressed concern for Bibi during her nearly decade-long ordeal. Human-rights advocates, such as the indefatigable Lord David Alton, who just last month met personally in Pakistan with the chief justice, have vigorously championed Bibi in the British parliament. Yet when the moment of truth arrived, London quickly decided it would not give her asylum owing to security concerns. The U.K. has its own radical Islamist leaders within its million-strong Pakistani community to worry about, including Anjem Choudary, paroled last month following a terror-law conviction. Lord Alton called the British decision “craven.”

 

In Paris, the city hall had an enlarged photo of Bibi by its front entrance when I last visited several years ago, and France has long been discussed as a place of asylum for her. But deadly Islamist attacks against Charlie Hebdo’s editors for blasphemy, and most recently against French Jews, make asylum there unthinkable. Last week Italy and Canada revealed their engagement in “sensitive” multilateral talks on Bibi’s case, but so far neither has offered an actual legal grant of asylum. Also last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized for Canada’s turning away the MS St. Louis and its 907 desperate Jewish passengers seeking refuge from German Nazis 79 years ago. Hopefully, he will apply the St. Louis lesson to throw a lifeline to Bibi.

 

recent appeal on Bibi’s behalf by 190 European parliamentarians demands her safe passage from Pakistan but says nothing specific about where she can go next. The European countries most welcoming to refugees — the Scandinavian states, Germany, the Netherlands — all have a recent history of Islamist rioting and murder over perceived blasphemy against Islam: by irreverent cartoons, Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s film on the treatment of women, a papal speech at Regensburg University, etc. Providing indefinite, round-the-clock security to a marked person such as Bibi would be costly, as the U.K. learned with Salman Rushdie. And Amsterdam has already had to withdraw much of its embassy staff from Pakistan this week following threats received after the nation granted asylum to Bibi’s lawyer and the Dutch politician Geert Wilders mocked the Muslim prophet on Twitter.

 

In a landmark blasphemy case in October, the European Court for Human Rights upheld an Austrian court’s conviction of a political activist on charges similar to Bibi’s, albeit they don’t carry the death penalty. For the sake of keeping social peace, Europe’s highest civil-rights court validated that country’s interest in criminalizing speech that “defames” the prophet Mohammed and in establishing a right to have “religious feelings protected.” The Austrian defendant had criticized the prophet as a “pedophile” for marrying a six-year-old; Bibi’s alleged insult is not disclosed, since repeating it would be deemed another act of blasphemy in Pakistan.

 

In truth, the anti-blasphemy movement went international several decades ago. After Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 against anyone connected with Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, several of its editors, translators, and sellers were either attacked or murdered in Japan, the United States, Norway, and Turkey. The Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation leveraged the 2005 Danish cartoon crisis to get Europe to police speech to protect Islam. Since then, the EU has adopted hate-speech bans on anything deemed Islamophobic by anyone. (Charges in the Austria case were brought by a secular magazine, not Muslims.)

 

Europe is trying to placate the Islamists by giving in on the blasphemy issue, but Bibi’s experience is a case study on how legitimizing religious speech taboos only fans the flames.

 

Bibi was arrested in 2009 after she triggered a dispute with Muslim women when she, an “infidel,” took a sip of water from a communal cup while harvesting a hot field. The Muslim women accused Bibi of blaspheming their prophet during the course of this heated exchange. At trial, the Muslim berry pickers gave conflicting testimony and were manipulated by a local imam — facts that were overlooked by the trial court and Bibi’s devastatingly inexperienced trial attorney but would be determinative for the supreme court. In 2010, Bibi was convicted and sentenced under section 295-C of the 1986 blasphemy law. For her own protection, she was confined in an isolation cell, where she cooked her own food to avoid poisoning.

With the blasphemy law already infamous as an oppressive tool for settling personal scores against Christians and other minorities, Asia Bibi attracted the sympathy of Punjab’s governor, Salman Taseer, and Pakistan’s minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. Both were assassinated in 2011. The murder of Bhatti, a Christian, occurred with impunity, while Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of the Muslim governor, was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, whereupon he became lionized as a martyr for the faith.

 

Qadri’s fans include a large part of the Pakistani lawyers’ association, whose members, in their trademark black suits, showered rose petals on him as he entered the courthouse. They volunteered by the hundred to defend him pro bono. In 2008, this same lawyers’ association was enthusiastically cited by the New York Times as a hopeful sign for upholding Pakistan’s “liberal tradition,” and as “perhaps the most consequential outpouring of liberal, democratic energy in the Islamic world in recent years.” But as lawyers rallied around the blasphemy issue, it became deeply illiberal. Saiful Mulook, one of the last of the true liberals, who represented Bibi in her appeal, had to flee for his life last week and go to the Netherlands.

 

Another figure inspired by Qadri is hardline cleric Khadim Rizvi, who organized Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), a burgeoning political party centered on fighting blasphemy against Islam. Last week TLP incited massive protests against Bibi in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi, paralyzing key transportation routes. To restore order, the government blocked cellphone service and social media throughout the country for three days. Prime Minister Imran Khan also reportedly gave Rizvi a chance to appeal the supreme court’s decision to release Bibi and promised to block her from leaving the country. Meanwhile, Rizvi has been calling for the murder of the judges, It’s not clear what the prime minister will do if Bibi gets an actual visa and promise of asylum from the United States, for example. So far he hasn’t had to cross that bridge.

 

Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Massih, told me two and a half years ago, after a conference — held in New York and sponsored by the Holy See — on persecution that Pakistan’s supreme court wanted to release his wife but, concerned about anti-blasphemy rioting, was waiting “until things cooled down.” The court, tired of waiting, finally released Bibi last week, and Pakistan’s ensuing descent into radicalism, wholly separate from the Taliban, has been on full display. Asia Bibi is the litmus test of whether the United States and the rest of the West are really willing to defend persecuted religious minorities around the world.

 

NINA SHEA — Nina Shea is the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a co-author of Silenced, How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide (Oxford University Press, 2011).

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Persecuted Asia Bibi NEEDS ASYLUM after Release from Pakistan Prison

John R. Houk

© November 16, 2018

________________

The Lessons of the Asia Bibi Case

 

© 2018 National Review

 

National Review FAQ

 

Violence Continues as Pakistani Islamists Protest Christian Woman’s “Blasphemy” Acquittal


I am not surprised that Pakistan Muslims are so supremacist that they have reacted with such viciousness toward Asia Bibi due to the Pakistan Court overturning her conviction and I also expect Mullah egged-on violence against Pakistani Christians to follow (if indeed it may have already occurred and not yet reported by Western media).

 

If anyone has an update on Asia Bibi, such as a prison release date, health report, asylum in a nation outside of Pakistan, etc.; please email me at john.houk@gmail.com or those of you who know my private email – you can data there.

 

Below is an IPT report I found on the Asia Bibi situation.

 

JRH 11/2/18

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Violence Continues as Pakistani Islamists Protest Christian Woman’s “Blasphemy” Acquittal

 

By IPT News

Nov 2, 2018 at 9:15 am

Investigative Project on Terrorism

 

Thousands of Islamist demonstrators in Pakistan continue to violently protest the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was falsely accused of blasphemy and spent the last eight years on death row.

 

Protesters clashed with police, burned cars and disrupted traffic, blocking ambulances. Schools across Pakistan have been closed and a major zone in Islamabad is sealed off.

 

Asia Bibi was charged in 2009 with insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad after drinking from a cup of water before allowing fellow Muslim farm laborers drink first. After being beaten in her home, Bibi’s accusers say that she confessed to blasphemy. She was sentenced to death in 2010.

 

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned her sentence. For that, the Supreme Court judges “deserve to be killed,” said Muhammad Afzal Qadri, leader of the extremist Islamist Tehreek-i-Labaik party. But Bibi has not been released from prison, as negotiations for her safety broke down between the government and Islamists.

 

“Which government can function like this, blackmailed by protests?” asked Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing the Islamists for “inciting [people] for their own political gain.”

 

Radical religious groups, including a charity founded by UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, vowed to join the protests today.

 

Public support for blasphemy laws in Pakistan remains high, driving a wedge between the ruling party and extreme Islamists stoking protests. And that sentiment is not limited to South Asia.

 

A Maryland mosque last year praised the terrorist who killed a former Pakistani governor critical of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Salman Taseer was targeted by radical Islamists after he defended Bibi. In 2011, his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri shot and killed him.

 

American Islamist groups said nothing about Taseer’s killing.

 

After Qadri was executed for the killing in 2016, the Gulzar E Madina mosque hosted a celebration in his memory, “attended by dozens of people including young children and teenagers.”

 

Radical Islamists in Pakistan, whether organized terrorist groups or mobs of people, often take matters into their hands.

 

In April 2017, a violent mob beat to death a university student who faced a blasphemy accusation that investigators later deemed false.

 

Sunni terrorist groups connected to extremist Pakistani organizations last year targeted minorities in several deadly attacks including Ahmadi Muslims, the Shi’a Hazara community, and Christians.

 

In December, for example, Islamic State terrorists killed nine civilians in a targeted attack involving a suicide bomber against a Methodist church in Quetta.

 

Pakistan has charged about 1,000 people with blasphemy since 1987, and convictions can carry the death penalty. These laws especially target members of Pakistan’s minority communities. But the law can be also applied to anyone that is seen as a threat to the government.

 

According to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, civil society organizations “reported lower courts often failed to adhere to basic evidentiary standards in blasphemy cases.”

 

Asia Bibi’s acquittal highlights the plight of all religious minorities in Pakistan and the destructive power of radical Islamists across the country.

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Support IPT in their efforts in spite of Multiculturalist attempts to block Conservative/Counterjihad info websites.

 

About The Investigative Project on Terrorism

 

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) is a non-profit research group founded by Steven Emerson in 1995. It is recognized as the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups. For more than two decades, the IPT has investigated the operations, funding, activities and front groups of Islamic terrorist and extremist groups in the United States and around the world. It has become a principal source of critical evidence to a wide variety of government offices and law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Congress and numerous public policy forums. Research carried out by the IPT team has formed the basis for thousands of articles and television specials on the subject of radical Islamic involvement in terrorism, and has even led to successful government action against terrorists and financiers based in the United States.

 

The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Tax deductible contributions should be made to its fund-raising arm, the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

 

Founder and executive director Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and author. Consulted by the White House, National Security Council, FBI, Justice Department, Congress and intelligence agencies, Mr. Emerson is in great demand as one of the most astute, insightful and knowledgeable experts in the world today on the threat and prospects of militant Islamic terrorism. He has been quoted in more than 500 news articles and has appeared frequently on network television. His 2002 best-selling book, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us, provides the first context and understanding for how one of the most notorious terrorist groups in the world could have plotted the worst terrorist attack on American soil without detection or scrutiny by American authorities.

 

What others say about Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism: READ THE REST

 

Pakistan Court Overturns Asia Bibi Death Sentence!


Now That’s Some All Saints Day News

 

John R. Houk

© November 1, 2018

For nearly a decade Pakistan Christian Asia Bibi has been on death row for drinking water from – get this – a Muslim-only well. But her death sentence was allegedly she denigrated Muhammad in favor of Jesus.

 

A Muslim-only well! Shades of egregious civil rights practices which have long been outlawed in the USA. As to whatever she may or may not have said about Mo, That dude was an evil ruffian-pirate-rapist-mass murderer-sex slaver and probably more than I can think of, in the name of a fabricated religion created to justify such godless evil actions.

 

YUP! In Pakistan I’d be on death row for writing the truth (according Muslim writings BY-THE-WAY).

 

But Asia Bibi has denied she has made any denigrating remarks about the Muslim Mo false prophet.

 

YESTERDAY I found out Asia Bibi was acquitted when Pakistan’s High Court overturned Asia near decade long death sentence. Here are the details according to the Gatestone Institute below.

 

JRH 11/1/18

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Pakistan: Asia Bibi Acquitted After Years Awaiting Death for “Blasphemy”

 

By Giulio Meotti

October 31, 2018 at 5:00 am

Gatestone Institute

 

  • Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 because she is a Christian and because she was thirsty. Today, justice was served when her conviction was overturned.

 

  • Now, Bibi may be targeted for assassination when she is released. Islamists have placed a bounty on her head of 50 million rupees ($375,000). Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim who was governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was murdered just for expressing support for her. Pakistan’s federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also murdered for defending Bibi.

 

  • Lawyers defending Christians and others accused of blasphemy are sometimes murdered as well.

 

  • In the ultimate irony, just a few days ago, the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld this same blasphemy law. The ECHR ruling is unspeakable. It is time to remove the unelected judges of that unaccountable and unappealable court.

 

Asia Bibi and two of her five children, pictured prior to her imprisonment on death row in 2010 for “blasphemy.”

 

After 3,422 days of cruel and unjustified imprisonment as “the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy,” the death penalty verdict against Asia Noreen Bibi has finally been overturned.

 

Pakistan’s Supreme today set aside the death sentence against Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of five. After being convicted in a trial in 2010 for false accusations of “blasphemy”, now justice has actually prevailed. Killing Bibi because her Muslim co-workers were offended that she, an “unclean” Christian, drank water from a communal well, was too much even for Pakistan, where Christians are habitually persecuted.

 

Bibi is now being “held at an undisclosed location for security reasons.” Islamist hardliners have already threatened the judges that if she is freed, those responsible would meet a “horrible” end.

 

On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi drank water from a communal well on a hot day, while working in a field. Two Muslim women alleged that because she, a Christian, had touched the water from the well, the entire well was now haram (forbidden by Islamic law). Asia responded by saying “I think Jesus would see if differently from Mohammed,” that Jesus had “died on the cross for the sins of mankind,” and asked, “What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?” This enraged the other women, who pushed and spit on her.

 

Five days later, as she worked in another field, a crowd of “dozens of men and women,” calling for Bibi’s death, beat her savagely and carried her to the village, where police arrested her. Qari Muhammad Sallam, the village imam (who had not been present at the water dispute), and the women who said Bibi had defiled the well-water, told the police chief that Bibi had “insulted the Prophet Mohammed.”

 

On November 8, 2010, after just five minutes of deliberation, Asia Noreen Bibi, under Article 295 of Pakistan’s Penal Code, was sentenced to death by hanging.

 

Asia Bibi was sentenced to death because she is a Christian and because she was thirsty.

 

Islamists cheered the verdict. Asia Bibi was alone against an entire country ready to sacrifice its weak Christian minority to appease the Islamists. After Bibi’s arrest, her family moved houses 15 times in five years. In the last weeks there have been reports of Asia suffering dementia. Eight years of solitary confinement, with the daily risk of being murdered in prison, have been a brutal form of psychological torture. For fear of being poisoned in prison, Bibi was allowed even to prepare her own meals.

 

A few days ago, during the plenary meeting in Strasbourg, the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said:

 

“Asia Bibi enraged some women for having drunk from a well. According to those women, such contact with Christian lips would have contaminated the water. After being attacked and reported for blasphemy, Asia Bibi risks being hanged. I ask the Pakistani authorities… to make sure that woman can have a fair trial and to avoid any form of discrimination or religious prejudice.”

 

Now, we must fear that when Bibi is released, she will be targeted for assassination. Islamists have placed a bounty on her head of 50 million rupees ($375,000).

 

Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim who was governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, paid with his life just for expressing support for Asia; he was murdered by his own bodyguard, who said “he did this because Mr Taseer recently defended the proposed amendments to the blasphemy law.” In another example of justice prevailing, his murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed.

 

However, lawyers defending Christians and others accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are sometimes murdered as well. Pakistan’s federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also murdered for defending Bibi. Although no one has even been officially executed in Pakistan for the crime of blasphemy, “many have been murdered purely on the basis of accusations against them”, Newsweek reported. According to Human Rights Watch, since 1990 at least 60 people accused of blasphemy have been murdered. Last year, a student was lynched by a mob for allegedly committing blasphemy.

 

Thousands of extremist Muslims rallied in Pakistan in the last few weeks in order to pressure judges to uphold the death sentence. They chanted “Hang infidel Asia” as they marched through the streets. Now Pakistani Islamists say that the judges who acquitted Asia Bibi “deserve death“. That is why Bibi now needs to flee the country. Several countries have already offered her asylum.

 

Since Asia Bibi was condemned to death, Christians in Pakistan have suffered a string of especially deadly terror attacks. An Islamist suicide bomber even targeted and slaughtered Christian children at a playground in a public park. Where was the West?

 

French priest Pierre-Hervé Grosjean asked in Le Figaro:

 

“How could the country of human rights be silent in the face of this injustice? … How can one want to save the Christians of Iraq from the barbarians of ISIS, if one is not able to save a Christian from the laws of an allied country?… Non-believing friends, her fate also concerns you: through her, it is the freedom and the dignity of each one that you defend. Your word is precious and courageous. Your silence would be terrible”.

 

But the silence has been terrible.

 

No one took the streets of Europe to protest Asia Bibi’s imprisonment. No major Western columnist penned articles proclaiming “Je Suis Asia Bibi.” Western secular human rights groups, always ready and willing to embrace any cause, largely remained missing in action. The campaigners to free terrorists from a relatively comfortable prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had no time to ask for Asia Bibi’s release. No feminist organization supported this Christian mother. The United Nations, which just condemned France for its law banning the niqab, also stood silent. It was a conspiracy of cowardice. [Bold Text Blog Editor’s]

 

After years in a windowless cell, Asia Bibi has triumphed over her would-be executioners. Injustice against Christians will continue, however, along with the West’s craven silence in the face of their persecution. Asia Bibi’s case is also the story of the West’s moral suicide.

 

Where have our philosophers, humanists and journalists been during these last nine years of injustice? It is this sad indifference that is devouring the West.

 

In the ultimate irony, just a few days ago, the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the same sort blasphemy law. The ECHR ruling is unspeakable. As Grégor Puppinck, head of the European Centre for Law and Justice, said, “the decision by the ECHR would have justified the conviction of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons…” It is time to remove the unelected judges of that unaccountable and unappealable court.

 

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

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Pakistan Court Overturns Asia Bibi Death Sentence!

Now That’s Some All Saints Day News

 

John R. Houk

© November 1, 2018

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Pakistan: Asia Bibi Acquitted After Years Awaiting Death for “Blasphemy”

 

© 2018 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. 

 

The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute. [Blog Editor: I did not ask for said permission. Upon any request or demand from GI, this portion of the post will be removed.]

 

KP Govt. Closed Six Churches Amid the U.S. placing Pakistan on Special Watch List


Shamim Masih writes about Islamic Supremacism once again persecuting Christians in Pakistan by targeting unregistered Churches with closure under the poor excuse of security.

 

JRH 1/20/18

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KP Govt. Closed Six Churches Amid the U.S. placing Pakistan on Special Watch List

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan (formerly NWFP)

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent 1/19/2018 9:03 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa [alternate spelling: Pakhtunkhwa] (KPK) province in Pakistan has sealed at least six Churches in district Abbottabad in the name of security after the United States placed Pakistan name in the Special Watch List. The officials claimed that only non-registered churches are closed. On the other hand, the KP govt. has announced monthly honorarium for 20, 000 Muslim clerics in the province.

 

According to the details the district administration at Abbottabad has officially ordered to close as many as six churches in the name of security and said the churches being established in the rental houses and non-registered are closed due to security risk. The District Police Officer (DPO) Syed Ashfaq said in his official statement that those churches have been sealed which had not been registered with the Auqaf Department.

 

According to 27th Convention of the United Nations, Pakistan is liable to take steps for the safety, protection of minorities and women rights and religious freedom in the country. And on January 04, 2018, the US placed Pakistan name in the list of those countries which are alleged violating minorities rights and religious freedom. Being on the Watch List means Pakistan is a step away from included in the “Countries of Particular Concern” list. The list includes “governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

 

In the meantime, on January 8, 2018, KP govt. proved it that religious minorities are not free to perform their religious services at their homes and even cannot worship in the rental houses they live in. To a rough estimate more than 10000 Christians live in and around Hazara Division and 5000 in Abbottabad district. And many of them are bared to perform their ceremonial and routine religious services.

 

Meanwhile, the Christian community across the country have termed the move as unjustified. Father Arshad Nayer, the local priest from Roman Catholic denomination said, “it would give a bad message if the government continued to seal worship places of religious minorities over minor issues.” Instead of providing security to the said churches the administration is on to close them, and it is violation of religious freedom. The poor Christians do not have enough resources to construct independent new church buildings, he added.

 

Pastor Christopher Shakar, one victim [of a closed Church – perhaps], said that his father Akram Shakar has started the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church (EPC) in 1985, and now he has taken this responsibility for seven years. On the celebration of the Christmas, the district administration has interrupted during the sermon and asked to close the service. This is violation of religious freedom given in the constitution of country. Another church, Assemblies of God has been established some 50 years back and now Pastor in charge Saleem Ghori is running it in his own house is also closed under the said so called security risk.

 

Chairman Community Development Foundation (CDF) Basharat Khokher strongly condemned the move by the KP govt. and termed it prejudicial behavior toward religious minorities in Pakistan. Talking on religious freedom, he said that the step taken by KP govt. is discriminatory and biased; the KP government is paying billions of rupees to Muslim clerics in the province and shutting down Christian worship places. From this move, it clearly shows that there is no religious freedom in the country and government imposed restriction and tries to snub the rights of minorities.

 

When asked Shireen Mazari, a senior Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) leader and member parliament, she said PTI is very clear in giving rights to minorities and not in the favor of closing any worship places. PTI central secretariat has sought written reply from CM KP Parvez Khattak on the matter of closure of 6 churches in Abbottabad district. The CM has been asked to explain the causes and motives leading to closure of churches. In a statement chairman PTI Imran Khan said that all the minorities enjoy full freedom of religion under the constitution of Pakistan. He said the PTI believes in full freedom of minorities, adding that such steps by the provincial government create a negative impression in the international community.

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondents

Online Int’l News Networks

Daily Jinnah & Daily Morning Mail

Journalist, Blogger and

Social Reformer

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Edited by John R. Houk

Any text enclosed by brackets as well as source links are by the Editor. Also, the Editor used Spellcheck.

 

A few words from Shamim perhaps from 2016:

 

 

Shamim Masih 

 

Greetings to you! Let me introduce myself first, though many of you are witness to my professional work. I am the only Christian journalist in this arena with diverse work experience with different media outlets like Independent News Pakistan (INP), as columnist with “Daily Times” for two years, two years with one of the leading Urdu daily, “Khabrain” & Channel 5, Daily Mail and now with Pakistan Today. I have been working as lead Reporter for “British Pakistani Christian Association” since 2010. As stringer I have worked with BBC world service. Being a Christian journalist, I have been writing on minority rights and working as a social reformer/peace maker as well.