November 2010: Pakistani Women Human Rights Organization (PWHRO) joins others in expressing grave concern over handing of death sentence to a Christian woman for blasphemy in Pakistan.
Asia Bibi, 45, a Christian and a mother of five has been sentenced to death for blasphemy this week, the first such conviction of a woman under the normally misused provisions relating to blasphemy, by a court in Nankana District in Punjab province of Pakistan. The case, which dates back to June 2009, relates to a simple incident when she was asked to fetch water while working in the fields. A group of Muslim women labourers had objected saying that she was a non-Muslim and, therefore, should not touch the water bowl. Later, the women had approached a local cleric and alleged that Asia had made derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed. Based on the report of the cleric an investigation was initiated and Asia was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code which carries the death penalty. Asia’s devastated family, including her husband Ashiq Masih plan to appeal against the death sentence.
PWHRO deplores such acts on flimsy grounds and calls upon Human Rights agencies, women activists and the international community to oppose such abominable acts against innocent women. The case involves a Christian woman with small children being punished for Blasphemy without any basis and factual evidence. PWHRO calls upon the Government of Pakistan to discharge justice to the innocent woman and undo other similar cases of injustice to woman in general in Pakistan.