The West intensifies efforts to free up more ‘blasphemers’.
Screams a headline in bold red on top of one of the colored pages of national daily, Ummat. Right next to it, an old photo of Aasia Bibi is displayed on the top of a passenger aircraft to depict her departure from Pakistan. It probably means to mock all those who resisted her release and departure from the country. Above all this, there is a row of photos showing men and women, who are currently in prison over charges of blaspheming against Islam – who the newspaper says are at the center of the Western ploy.
Aasia Bibi – a Christian farm worker spent more than 8 years on death row over blasphemy charges, before being finally acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan last year. She was finally released on May 8 and made it out of the country to reunite with her family in Canada. The mother of five had to leave her country because right wing groups still called for her head. In case of sensitive religious matters, like blasphemy, mere allegations suffice as irrefutable proof of one’s guilt which even the highest court of law cannot undo.
The right wing considers Aasia Bibi’s release an outcome of the crushing diplomatic pressure put on Pakistan by the US, UK, Canada and the European Union – views that Daily Ummat has echoed in this report.
This report writes that the West – emboldened by the release of Aasia Bibi – has intensified attempts to free up more ‘blasphemers’, imprisoned in Pakistan.
It says various Christian NGOs, including the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) are busy compiling data of such individuals. It says the Association’s Chairman Wilson Chaudhry had remained in constant contact with Aasia Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih and was aware of the developments all through.
The newspaper quotes anonymous diplomatic sources who said that the European Union may use its ‘GSP Plus’ status for Pakistan to pressurize the country into accepting its demands. In addition to EU, United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has also called for the release of more than forty people facing
death row or life sentences in Pakistan. As per Daily Ummat the USCIRF not only called for the release of the blasphemy accused, but also demanded revoking of the country’s blasphemy laws. On the other hand, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion has also submitted his report to the UN Council for Human Rights which calls for revoking blasphemy laws from across the world, Ummat informs.
The newspaper say now that Aasia Bibi is free, all these powers are focusing on freeing other Christian blasphemy accused.
The newspaper refers to Aasia Bibi as ‘Maloona’ in the entire report which loosely translates to ‘the cursed’.
The newspaper also believes there are high chances that Aasia Bibi will be used as a mouthpiece by the foreign forces to run an anti-Pakistan campaign. The reason Aasia’s release was delayed has pretty much to do with Pakistan’s apprehensions that she will speak out against Pakistan and turn out to be just like ‘Salman Rushdi and Tasleema Nasreen’, Daily Ummat writes. That’s why Pakistani authorities sought assurances from the Western powers that she will not speak foul against the country, the newspaper informs.
It is highly unlikely that Aasia won’t speak, Daily Ummat opines, she was freed in the first place to bring bad name to Pakistan to help the Western agenda to rollback blasphemy laws, it adds.