Saturday, December 31, 2011

Canada’s Parliament raises a voice for Asia Bibi

Pray for Asia Bibi!
Canada's Parliament is demanding the release of a Christian woman condemned under Pakistan's blasphemy law, reports Mission Network News.

Asia Bibi, a Christian wife and mother in Pakistan, was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. After a lengthy trial, on November 8, 2010, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge. Her attorneys filed the appeal promptly, and now wait for the Lahore High Court to rule. If the appeal is rejected, Asia would be the first woman to be lawfully executed under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. She remains in prison, waiting to hear the high court’s ruling (for more, click here).

In December, Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.) made the following motion: “That, the House of Commons joins the Senate of Canada in calling upon the Government of Pakistan to immediately release Ms. Asia Bibi, to ensure her safety and well-being, to hear the outcry of the international community, and to respect the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Bob Dechert, Member for Mississauga-Erindale (CPC) speaking in the House said, "Last November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a statement concerning Asia Bibi's incarceration in Pakistan under its blasphemy law. At the time, the Government of Canada registered its concerns with Pakistan at the highest levels. We have also called on the Government of Pakistan to repeal laws criminalizing blasphemy which restrict religious freedom and expression, and target religious minorities."

He also noted that Governor Taseer and Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the two government officials who were gunned down for speaking out against the blasphemy law and urging freedom for Bibi (to learn more, click here).

Phil McColeman, Member for Brant (CPC) expressed his concern over the sentencing, adding that their objections were registered with Pakistan's foreign minister.  Canada has urged Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy laws.  Officials say they restrict freedom of religion and of expression. These laws, he said, have disproportionately targeted religious minorities.

In November, our sister mission in the United States delivered petitions calling for Asia’s to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C. The team from The Voice of the Martyrs was courteously received and the petitions were accepted by the Embassy personnel. We pray that Pakistani officials will grant Asia Bibi mercy and acquit her of the charges. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do so today at www.CallForMercy.com.

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