Asia is united with her family in Canada!
We praise and thank God that Asia Bibi is finally free. She has been allowed to leave Pakistan and has joined her family here in Canada.
We believe that her freedom is a sign of hope. Justice has been carried out, and though she suffered a lengthy eight-year imprisonment with an added six-month protective custody, the prayers of His people have been answered. Thank you for being relentless in your prayers as you stood in the gap to intercede on her behalf.
Gary Stagg, Executive Director of Open Doors Canada, said: “We are both thrilled and relieved that Asia Bibi has finally been allowed to leave Pakistan. We are deeply honoured that she has found a new home in Canada with her family and are thankful to all who had a part to play in this process. As Canadians, we open our arms to this sister in Christ and pray for a smooth transition as she begins to settle into Canadian life.”
Asia was arrested in 2009 after being accused of insulting the prophet Mohammed. An argument with a Muslim woman while working in the field arose when the Muslim woman refused water from Asia on the grounds that it had been made ‘unclean’ because it was touched by a Christian. Asia was put behind bars on charges of blasphemy and sentenced to death the following year. Despite lack of evidence and contradictions in witness testimonies, court cases and appeals dragged on until finally, in 2018, Asia Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court.
Asia Bibi’s case has attracted worldwide attention and led to much criticism of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. Asia was found guilty of blasphemy and became the first woman to be sentenced to death under Article 295C of Pakistan’s penal code, which imposes death sentences for offenses of defamation against Mohammad.
In the summer of 2015, Asia was granted leave to appeal her death sentence. Finally, in November 2018 she was acquitted of any wrongdoing and released from prison. But due to mass protests by anti-Christian hardliners, she was barred from leaving the country as an appeal against her acquittal was launched.
On 29 January 2019, the appeal was thrown out and the Supreme Court upheld its decision to free Asia Bibi. She remained under the government protective custody in Pakistan while her two daughters were believed to have been granted asylum in Canada.
An Open Doors Contact requests us to continue to pray for her and Christians in Pakistan, saying, “This is wonderful news and we hope there will not be repercussions for the Christians in Pakistan but would, in fact, make a way for change, hope, and reconciliation”.
For Asia Bibi and her family as they settle into a new life in Canada, may they feel God’s close presence and peace.
Pray for God’s protection upon their lives. May she and her family feel secure.
Please pray for Christians in Pakistan, to stand strong in faith at this time of heightened threats and persecution.
Pakistan is number 5 on the World Watch List, Open Doors’ ranking of 50 countries where Christians experience the most extreme persecution. Historic churches have been subject to bomb attacks. All Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination, with occupations that are seen as low, dirty and derogatory being officially reserved for Christians, most of whom are from the poorer classes. Blasphemy laws are often used to target Christians. Conversion from Islam brings great shame to family and community, and danger for the new believer.