Asia Bibi’s husband and daughter have been speaking about their ordeal in Pakistan, while they wait to see how the world will respond to their pleas for asylum.
Speaking on the BBC World Service, Ashiq Masih said he hadn’t seen his wife since she was acquitted. He said Pakistan has failed to provide any security for him and his daughters.
‘I haven’t been able to meet [Asia] yet. I have never been so afraid as I am now for my family. My life and the life of my family is really under threat.’
Ashiq and his daughters have been in hiding, going from house to house to escape the mob. Ignoring the Supreme Court and the rule of law, extremists have declared that any friend of a blasphemer is guilty of blasphemy.
There has long been a culture of violent vigilanteism in Pakistan connected with the blasphemy laws – which is why Release International has been campaigning for years to repeal them.
Ashiq told the BBC: ‘We are so restricted our mobility is virtually zero. We cannot go out anywhere. Even for basic things, we have to rely on other people.’
He has called on the UK, Canada and the USA to grant asylum to Asia and the family.
He told the British Pakistani Christian Association: ‘That fundamentalists can cause our government to shift direction, alarms me, but I trust our God will give freedom and peace to Asia – through the prayers of our many millions of supporters.
‘Jesus loves us’
‘Jesus loves us and died for us, He will be feeling our pain and will show the world his divine nature by beating these impossible circumstances.’
Added daughter Eisham Masih, who is 18: ‘I cried for joy when I heard my mother would be set free. I now cry for the despair of our situation. Only God can save us all and when I pray I have felt his presence at my darkest moments. He will show the world that no worldly institutions can thwart his plans for us.’
Release International has provided support to Asia’s family and has been working in Pakistan to provide legal aid and help for victims of bomb attacks.
Sources: BBC World Service, The Tablet, BPCA