February 9, 2019

PAKISTAN: Canadian Government Has Offered To Grant Asia Bibi Asylum After Court Acquitted Her For Sharia Blasphemy Charges. But Now Pakistani Authorities Are Barring Her From Leaving! UGH

Huffington Post
written by Amardeep Bassey, HuffPost UK
Tuesday January 29, 2019

She spent years in solitary confinement.

Editor's Note: This article initially attributed a number of statements to Wilson Chowdhry, a representative of the British Pakistani Christian Association. After publication, Chowdhry and another representative of the group alerted HuffPost to problems with those attributions. An internal review determined that HuffPost UK did not accurately report his remarks and represented paraphrases of some comments as direct quotes.

HuffPost has updated the article to verify our reporting and has removed the erroneous statements. HuffPost apologizes to Mr. Chowdhry and to our readers.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy, is expected to move to Canada after receiving offers of asylum from different countries. Several senior officials across the Canadian government told HuffPost Canada they are actively working to secure her release but won't confirm details due to safety concerns for Bibi and diplomats.

The news comes as Pakistan's top court rejected a challenge to the acquittal of the mother-of-five on blasphemy charges, after she was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi's conviction and death sentence, sparking fears of civil unrest which plagued her release last year.

Several countries have reportedly offered Bibi asylum, including Italy and Australia.

"The general belief among the world leaders who have registered concern is that we needed to let the judicial process run its course. That process has successfully confirmed her acquittal and now we are waiting to hear that she has landed in a new safe place," said a statement from the British Pakistani Christian Association, a charity that has been assisting the Bibi family.

It is hoped Bibi, 54, will join two of her daughters, who were flown to Canada in December for their safety, reported The Daily Telegraph.

"I can only confirm that I believe Asia will travel to Canada to be reunited with her family," said Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

Canada's Global Affairs department said that Bibi's case is a "priority" for the Canadian government.

"Canada is prepared to do everything we can to ensure the safety of Asia Bibi," Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brittany Fletcher said on Tuesday. "We urge the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary steps to keep her safe. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and must be fully respected."

'Canada is a welcoming country': Trudeau
Bibi, a farm labourer, was released from prison two months ago after Pakistan's highest court acquitted her in a landmark decision.

Last month, a delegation from the BPCA visited Canada and garnered support from MPs there, who said they would welcome Asia and her family to the country.

The Trudeau government has the support of the opposition Conservatives, who have urged him to "use every mechanism at his disposal to offer the Bibi family asylum."

Last November, Trudeau told reporters in Paris, "There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don't want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country."

Bibi spent years in solitary confinement after an argument in June 2009 with a group of Muslim women, who accused her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Last fall, Pakistan's Supreme Court overturned her conviction, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence.

Her acquittal sparked violent protests across the country, led by Islamic religious hardliners from the extremist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik, whose leaders were later arrested and detained on terrorism and sedition charges.

Days after her release, Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih made an impassioned video plea to British Prime Minister Theresa May asking for asylum in the UK.

But her appeal for sanctuary was denied by the UK's home office because of fears British embassies and diplomatic staff would be targeted by Islamic extremists.

With files from HuffPost Canada's Samantha Beattie and Althia Raj

CBC News published on Jan 30, 2019: Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman whose death sentence for blasphemy was overturned, will be joining her children who live in Canada, several published reports say.

The Guardian News, UK
written by Emma Graham-Harrison
Saturday February 9, 2019

Labourer whose blasphemy death sentence was overturned has been transferred to Karachi

Pakistani authorities have moved Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges, to a new “secure area” and are barring her from leaving the country, a close friend and rights campaigner has claimed.

Bibi, who spent eight years on death row, was transferred from a location near the capital to a house in the southern port city of Karachi, her friend Aman Ullah told the Associated Press. She and her husband are locked in a single room in a house where the door opens only “at food times”, he added.

Canada has offered her asylum and she wants to join her daughters there. Pakistani authorities have said she is free to travel, but Bibi, 54, says she is being prevented from going.

“She has no indication of when she will leave,” said Ullah, who added that Bibi was frightened and frustrated. “They are not telling her why she cannot leave.” He spoke to her by telephone, after the threats from extremists angered by his assistance to Bibi forced him to flee the country on Friday.

Ullah has been liaising with diplomats over the case, and he says they were told Bibi’s departure would only come “in the medium-term”.

Publicly, Pakistani authorities insist that Bibi is free both inside Pakistan, and to leave it. “She is living with her family and given requisite security for safety,” the information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told the AP in an email.

He said the government was responsible for taking “all possible measures” to protect her and her family, adding that “she is a free citizen after her release from jail and can move anywhere in Pakistan or abroad.”

Violent Islamists have threatened to track her down and kill her, some even suggesting that they will pursue her abroad if she leaves.

A farm labourer, Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 in what swiftly became Pakistan’s most infamous blasphemy case. She had been accused by Muslim villagers of insulting the prophet Muhammad in a row over a cup of water. She always insisted she was innocent.

Blasphemy is a highly inflammatory issue in Pakistan, where even unproven accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynchings. Human rights activists say blasphemy charges are frequently used to settle personal scores.

After the supreme court overturned Bibi’s conviction, cities across Pakistan were paralysed for several days by violent demonstrations with enraged extremists calling for her beheading.

In a deal to end the violence, the government, led by the prime minister, Imran Khan, struck a deal allowing the petition seeking an appeal against the supreme court’s judgment. Khan was accused of capitulating to the extremists’ demands.

In January the supreme court rejected that challenge to their October ruling; at the time it was thought Bibi could leave the country within hours.
Why does everybody keep using the term extremist for the Islamist wanting Asia Bibi executed? This poor Christian woman spent 8 YEARS in prison solitary confinement because a Muslim woman was OFFENDED that she was offering to drink out of the same water container and FALSELY ACCUSED Asia Bibi of OFFENDING ISLAM. I never read anywhere that you refer to the Muslim female accuser as AN EXTREMIST. Nor have I read anywhere that you refer to the PAKISTANI COURT system that put her in prison as AN EXTREMIST. This is Islam. Period. (emphasis mine)
Apostasy means leaving Islam. I looked it up to give you more insight.

Apostasy or irtidād in Islam is equal to treason.
[source: al-Islam.org]

Tawhid, nubuwwa, and qiyāmaform the constitution of Islam. Just as upholding and protecting the constitution of a country is sign of patriotism, and undermining it is a form of treason - in the same way open rejection of the fundamental beliefs of Islam by a Muslim is an act of treason.
I hear many of you refer to the "fundamental beliefs of Islam" as RADICAL or EXTREMIST. Doesn't "fundamental" mean BASIC FOUNDATION of a belief system? Without it Islam doesn't exist. I will reiterate, this is Islam. Period. (emphasis mine)
Apostasy, i.e., the public declaration of rejecting the fundamentals of Islam, has also negative influence on the Muslim society; it is indeed a major fitna. And that is why Islam has prescribed harsh punishment for irtidād.

It must be emphasized that the irtidād that we are discussing here involves open rejection, without any force and with full realization of what one's statements or actions imply. If a Muslim has a genuine doubt on an Islamic matter, that process of doubting does not automatically classify him as a murtad.

As long as he is still in state of doubt, the punishment of irtidād is suspended. A murtad must fully realize the implications of his open rejection and what it means--casting doubt on the truth and honesty of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the Messenger of God.

The punishment prescribed by the shari`ah for apostasy is death.

Even the terms used by the shari`ah for apostates give the idea of treason to this whole phenomenon. "Murtad" means apostate. Murtad can be of two types: fitri and milli.

(1) "Murtad Fitri" means a person who is born of a Muslim parent and then he rejects Islam. "Fitrah" means creation. The term "murtad fitri" implies that the person has apostate from the faith in which he was born.
(2) "Murtad Milli" means a person who converted to Islam and then later on he rejects Islam. Milli is from millat which means religion. The term "murtad milli" implies that the person has apostated from his religion and the Muslim community.

In the first case, the apostasy is like the treason against God; whereas in the second case, the apostasy is like the treason against the Muslim community. Probably, that is why the Sh`iah jurisprudence deals with these two kinds of murtads differently:

• A former kāfir (non-Muslim) who became a Muslim and then apostates (murtad milli), he is given a second chance: if he repents, then he is not to be killed; but if he does not repent, then he is to be killed.

• But one who is born as a Muslim and then apostates (murtad fitri), he is to be killed even if he repents. It is important to understand that in case a murtad fitri repents, Allāh may accept his repentance and he may be forgiven in the hereafter, but he still has to go through the punishment prescribed for his treason in this world.

This punishment is only applicable in case of apostasy by men; in case of women, the punishment is not death but life imprisonment. And if such a woman repents, then her repentance is accepted and the punishment is lifted.

No comments: