Asia Bibi’s agonising wait has been prolonged – after Pakistan’s Supreme Court today adjourned her appeal hearing.
Please pray that our sister and her family will know God’s peace and protection as they wait to hear whether or not she is to be executed for ‘blasphemy’.
A leading Supreme Court judge due to hear Asia’s appeal today stepped back from the case, on the ground that he had been a judge in the trial of Mumtaz Qadri, the man convicted of murdering Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer for opposing the blasphemy laws.
Tensions are running high over Asia’s case. Yesterday, 150 Muslim clerics issued a fatwa (religious edict) warning the Government not to release Asia, and threatening to kill anyone who helped a person accused of blasphemy.
While Asia remains in prison, another Christian family in Pakistan is suffering the huge trauma of losing a loved one – and injustice – because of their faith.
Zeeshan Masih, 14, was reportedly raped and hanged from a tree in a village near Faisalabad. But local police have denied any knowledge of a post-mortem examination which apparently confirmed the teenager had been strangled. Police told Zeeshan’s father, Sarfaraz, that he had died of ‘natural causes’ – namely, eating guava – and have yet to register a case.
‘We are poor and Christian, so that is why the police are brazenly denying facts – and to save the culprits,’ said Sarfaraz. His son’s death had caused his family ‘unbearable pain’.
Local Christians believe the teenager’s death may be linked to a recent row Sarfaraz had with a relative who had recently converted to Islam.
- Please pray that God’s peace will sustain Asia and her family (Philippians 4:7), despite their circumstances. Ask Him to keep them safe.
- Continue to pray for wisdom, courage and protection for the Pakistani Government, and for Supreme Court judges who will hear Asia’s appeal against her death sentence. Pray they will not be intimidated by extremists but rather act justly. Pray her appeal will be heard soon.
- Ask God to comfort and protect Zeeshan’s grieving family and bring them justice.
There is still time to sign our petition calling on Pakistan’s Prime Minister to repeal its blasphemy laws.
(Sources: Dawn; World Watch Monitor)