The News Minute| October 23, 2014| 9.00 pm IST
Aasiya Noureen a.k.a Asia Bibi was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s Shariah based blasphemy laws by a Pakistani court in 2010, the verdict was upheld by a high Court recently. Though the country maintains that Asia, 42 years old, was jailed for speaking against Prophet Muhammad, the international community has been appealing for her and most reports suggest that Asia was merely being targeted because of her religion.
The whole case started over drinking water. Asia Bibi, a mother of five from the Punjab province in Pakistan, was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet when she got into an argument with field workers in 2009. Asia had drank water from a bucket kept near a well, but this was a problem for the Muslim workers who thought that Asia, a practicing Christian made the water ‘unclean’ with her touch.
When an argument broke out between the workers and Asia over the issue, she replied- “I think Jesus would see if differently from Mohammed”, she further said that she would not convert to Islam. All hell broke loose and before she knew Asia was inside a prison. She has been in jail for the past five years, and has now been sentenced to death.
Asia’s family is in hiding now. Reports say that a radical cleric urged the Al-qaeda to carry out her death sentence before the government does.
CNN reports that Asia is going to take her plight to the country’s Supreme Court, many think that the verdict will not be any different.
In an interview to the New York Post a year ago, Asia summarised her plight thus- “I’ve been locked up, handcuffed and chained, banished from the world and waiting to die. I don’t know how long I’ve got left to live. Every time my cell door opens my heart beats faster. My life is in God’s hands and I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. It’s a brutal, cruel existence. But I am innocent. I’m guilty only of being presumed guilty. I’m starting to wonder whether being a Christian in Pakistan today is not just a failing, or a mark against you, but actually a crime.”