ASIA BIBI’s arrival in Canada May 8, 2019 has been hailed as “the news we had all been hoping and praying for,” according to the head of a Catholic organisation committed to helping victims of injustice in Pakistan.
Father Emmanuel ‘Mani’ Yousaf, national director of Pakistan’s National Commission for Justice and Peace, told Aid to the Church in Need: “For almost 10 years now, this is the day all of us have been waiting for, when the family can at last be reunited.”
Paying tribute to Aid to the Church in Need and all those who have appealed for justice for Asia Bibi, Father Yousaf said: “There are so many who deserve our congratulations for all that they have done for Asia in her struggle to regain her freedom.”
The comments come amid breaking news that the Christian woman, formerly on death row for blasphemy, has finally left her native Pakistan and travelled to Canada, where her two daughters, Eisham and Esha, are now living. Father Yousaf said: “We thank God that the family is now being reunited at long last. We pray to God that they will have a better future and can put behind them nearly 10 years of suffering. We thank God that justice has prevailed.”
Asia Bibi was charged with blasphemy in 2009, a crime punishable by death. She was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during an incident that confronted her with fellow farm workers who had refused to drink from a bucket of water after Asia had touched it and as a non-Muslim had made the water impure in the eyes of the Muslims.
In October 2018 the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Asia, confirming its decision in an appeal hearing in January 2019, but she was not allowed to follow her wish and leave the country—until now. Although the legal case against Asia Bibi finally came to a positive resolution Jan. 29, 2019, between 1990 and 2017 23 Christians were killed in mob violence after being accused of blasphemy; the National Commission for Justice and Peace, which is part of the bishops’ conference of Pakistan, has also documented a further 25 cases of Christians currently on trial for alleged blasphemy of Islam.