Husband of Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy begs US,UK and Canada for asylum.
Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi Nooren, a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada.
“I am requesting president of the United States Donald Trump to help us exit from Pakistan,” Masih said in a video recorded by the British Pakistani Christian Association. “I also request the prime minister of the United Kingdom to help us, I also request the prime minister of Canada,” he said, while also asking for help on behalf of his brother Jospeh Nadeem who has assisted with Bibi’s case.
The US Embassy and British and Canadian High Commissions in Islamabad did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the video.
Masih made the plea amidst violent protests in which Islamic fundamentalists are calling for the public execution of Ms. Bibi by hanging even after Pakistani supreme court acquitted her of blasphemy.
Her acquittal had sparked violent protests across major cities of Pakistan that forced the authorities to capitulate into an agreement with oppositions Tehreek-i-Labaik (TLP) party, which requires that the government put Bibi on a list that would hinder her from leaving the country.
In an interview with German broadcaster DW, Bibi’s husband said he and his family were “frightened” after Pakistan’s authorities struck the deal with the hardliners in order to end protests over Asia Bibi’s acquittal.
“The agreement has sent a shiver down my spine,” Mr Masih told DW. “It is wrong to set a precedent in which you pile pressure onto the judiciary.”
“The current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding here and there, frequently changing our location.”
He added: “My wife, Asia Bibi, has already suffered greatly. She has spent 10 years in jail. My daughters were dying to see her free, but now this review petition will prolong her plight.”
The family had since gone into hiding after receiving death threats. Some callers have reportedly threatened to kill the woman if she is released from prison, despite the landmark supreme court judgement that acquitted her.
The lawyer representing Ms. Bibi, Saiful Malook, has also fled the country in fear for his life, the CNN reported on Sunday.
Malook left Pakistan for an undisclosed European country just as a Muslim cleric Maulana Yousaf Qureshi announced a bounty of 500,000 Pakistani rupees, (approximately US$5,000), to anyone who would kill Ms. Bibi.
The governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer , was assassinated by Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri , a 26-year-old member of his security team, because of his defence of Bibi and opposition to the blasphemy law of the Muslims dominated Pakistan. Mumtaz the killer was sentenced to death for the assassination and hanged on 29 February 2016. Taseer was outspoken in his criticism of the law and the verdict in Noreen’s case. The next day, thousands turned up for the governor’s funeral in Lahore in spite of warnings by the Taliban and some clerics, while a portion of the Pakistani population also praised Qadri as a hero for killing an “enemy of Islam”.
The United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada were yet to make any official comment on Asia Bibi’s husband’s plea as at press time.