Written by John Newton & John Pontifex - Aid to the Church in Need UK
Asia daughter says “I can’t wait to hug my mother”
Asia Bibi’s husband and daughter have today described news of her acquittal as the
“most wonderful moment” of their lives – and thanked God for answering their prayers.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court this morning (Wednesday, 31st October) overturned the death
sentence hanging over the Catholic labourer from Punjab who in 2010 became the first
woman in the country condemned to death for blasphemy.
Ashiq Masih and Eisham Ashiq, Asia Bibi's husband and her 18 year old daughter thank God for Asia's acquittal (Copyright Aid to the Church in Need)
Speaking within a few minutes of the announcement today, Asia Bibi’s daughter, Eisham
Ashiq, 18, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “I am so happy. I want to thank God.
And, speaking through an interpreter, she told the charity for persecuted Christians:
“This is the most wonderful moment. I can’t wait to hug my mother and then celebrate
with my family. I am grateful to God for listening to our prayers.”
Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, said: “We are very happy. This is wonderful news.
“We thank God very much that he’s heard our prayers – and the prayers of so many
people who have longed for Asia Bibi’s release over all these years of suffering and
Close family friend Joseph Nadeem said that on hearing the news the family
immediately “danced for joy”. He added: “There were many tears – tears of
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK), said: “Today is
like the dawn of new hope for oppressed minorities.”
Saluting the courage of the judges in acquitting Asia Bibi in the face of fierce opposition
from Islamist protestors, he added: “It is important that justice is not just seen to be
done but is done.”
And Father Emmanuel Yousaf, National Director of Pakistan’s Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace, which supports people accused of blasphemy with support from
organisations including ACN, said: “I am glad that justice has finally been served.
“In the current developing situation and protests by extremist groups, May Our Lord
bless and protect Asia and her family and keep all our Christian brothers and sisters safe
here in Pakistan.”
The Supreme Court’s decision today overturns the 2010 sentence Asia Bibi received for
insulting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, a crime punishable by death according to
Article 295C of Pakistan’s Penal code – part of the so-called Blasphemy Laws.
The charge was brought against her following an altercation with Muslim co-workers
who said that, as a Christian, she had contaminated a common water cup by drinking
Throughout, Asia Bibi has protested her innocence and on 8th October the case had its
final hearing at Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the capital, Islamabad.
At the time of the hearing, Asia’s daughter, Eisham, and husband, Ashiq, were in the UK
as guests of Aid to the Church in Need, raising awareness of the case.
Please accept our profound thanks for your compassionate solidarity for Asia Bibi, her family and all who are unjustly accused because of their faith. May God bless you.
With your help, we can provide support to Christians in Pakistan who continue to suffer persecution and oppression because of their faith. Please be assured that whatever you give, your gift, will make the difference to Christians in need.
Listen to Eisham's testimony below: