ASIA BIBI FAMILY ‘HUNTED DOOR-TO-DOOR’
Islamist extremists are reported to be hunting for Asia Bibi’s family ‘door-to-door’ in Pakistan, giving rise to fears she could be murdered before leaving the country. And Christians in Lahore have been warned that terrorist groups are planning to attack them. Release International is calling for prayer.
British newspapers say hard-liners are searching for Asia’s husband and her daughters. Militants are showing photographs to neighbours to try to track them down.
Even though Asia has been declared innocent by the highest court in the land – the Supreme Court – Pakistan is refusing to let her leave the country.
The imam who filed the blasphemy charge against Asia has called for the Supreme Court to review its petition.
Until it does, Pakistan says Asia will not be free to go. And although she is being held in protective custody, fears are growing for her safety and that of her husband and daughters.
Vigilantes have vowed to kill Asia, even though she has been pronounced not guilty and the case against her dismissed as a ‘concoction.’
Her family has been driven into hiding and are moving from house to house to evade the extremists.
One militant group, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), has warned, ‘There will be a war if they send Asia out of country.’
According to Pakistan media, the Lahore police have warned church leaders that several extremist groups are planning attacks against the country’s Christian minority. Police have told Christians to be vigilant as the danger is ‘high’.
Anglican Bishop Humphrey Peters says Pakistan’s Christians are facing ‘a critical moment’.
Asia’s daughter, Eisham Ashiq, said the family were grateful for the prayers being said for them around the world.
She told Sky News: ‘Thanks to all of you for praying for my mother and for persecuted Christians. I would also like to thank the brave judges that recognised my mother’s innocence.’
Release CEO Paul Robinson has called for renewed prayer for Asia and her family, as well as the Christians of Pakistan:
‘Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan are braced for reprisals, simply because, like Asia Bibi, they are Christians. They fear that in Pakistan today, every Christian is regarded as a blasphemer or blasphemer-in-waiting, whose continued existence can no longer be tolerated.
‘Release calls on Christians everywhere who enjoy freedom of faith, to be mindful of our Christian family in Pakistan – where the oxygen of that freedom is in short supply. We must continue to hold them in our hearts and in our prayers.’
Sources – The Telegraph, Guardian, Standard, Time, Mail, Sky News, Christian Post, Christian Examiner