Asia Bibi living in ‘hell hole’ in Pakistan prison

By October 6, 2015
pakistan
(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Pakistan (ODM) — Friends of the ALIVE network of churches (supported by Open Doors) in Pakistan have done research into the circumstances in which Christian mother Aasiya (Asia) Bibi is being held in prison. This is the first of a 2-part update. The second story will run Tuesday, Oct. 6.

What if you were imprisoned:

• With 42 murderers, 30 drug addicts, 21 robbers, 12 kidnappers, and other criminals in your block.
• And you spent your days in solitary confinement far away from your husband and children.
• Only because you expressed your faith in Jesus?

Such is life for Asia Bibi in Pakistan. In 2009, Muslim women tried to chase her away from a well because–as a Christian–she “polluted the water.” Asia responded by saying that Jesus had rescued her and then added: “What has your prophet done for you?”

Fast forward 6 years, and Asia is the most famous Pakistani prisoner. She is currently the only woman on death row.

People close to the case have told OPEN DOORS’ partner ministry ALIVE about the conditions of inmates in the Multan Jail. The women’s block in Multan is a single-story building and does not have any system of cross ventilation. There are sets of two beds placed on one another in a vertical manner to double the capacity. There are a total of 6 unhygienic toilets which are, in the words of a former prisoner, “not sufficient for the number of inmates.”

The prison block has capacity for only 30-40 prisoners; however, around 150 inmates are being held. Of these, several spend their days in solitary confinement.

“Multan’s summers are extremely hot,” the former prisoner says. “Combine this with overcrowding, poor sanitation, heating, lighting, and ventilation in the jail, and you realize the hell hole where Asia’s single cell is located.”

Angry with Allah

Eye witnesses told ALIVE that most female prisoners are angry with Allah but are afraid at the same time. A program was developed in the prisons that requires them to read the Quran. They must sit in front of the Quran for hours. They rock back and forth regardless of whether they can comprehend what they are reading. They are told that if they learn a significant portion of the Quran by heart, they will get their prison sentence reduced, as well as please Allah and receive his forgiveness.

It is not just the sound of the five times of prayer that Asia is surrounded by. Every waking hour she hears the wailing of broken and often mentally-disturbed women mixed with the sound of the Quran being read out loud. Prison is no quiet place.

There’s no evidence that Asia–hers being a “blasphemy case”–is being treated worse than other prisoners. In fact, because her case is so high profile, she may even be better taken care of, though only slightly. Her life is still terrible. Guards are used to taking their frustrations out on Christians, and perhaps she sometimes bears the brunt.

Asia is separated from the other inmates. This means she has her own toilet and is able to cook. However, as one can imagine, the standards of hygiene are very bad. It’s no surprise that after 6 years in prison, Asia fell seriously ill this year. For normal sickness, medicines are available in jail, and “favorite prisoners” are privy to them. Sometimes this makes way for drugs to come into the prison as well. For critical illness and expensive treatment, no arrangements exist. Often, this negligence results in the death of sick prisoners. The judicial magistrate and superintendent are quite indifferent about prisoners succumbing to their sickness.

Prisoners like Asia are never allowed to go outside. Asia has only traveled to court and to the hospital since she was locked up in Multan Jail.

The Sound of Children

She must be very lonely. Usually, prisoners in solitary confinement are not allowed to see any visitors. It’s unlikely she is able to meet with her husband and/or children. If she does, they will never be left alone by the guards. Talking openly or slipping messages is out of the question. She must miss her children terribly. Many fellow inmates have children in the prison. They stay with their (single) mothers until the age of seven. Their crying and occasional laughter often fill the corridors.

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)  Asia Bibi's husband

Asia Bibi’s husband
(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

What are the effects of this kind of imprisonment on the soul? A Pakistani trauma counselor says, “Someone like Asia Bibi would not have been prepared for the trauma of this long-term separation from her loved ones. When she comes out and is free from the shackles of this sentence, she will suffer much mental pain, and it will be a long healing process for her. The evil of injustice, unfair punishment, and separation from her family will have eroded her sense of what is normal. She will need to rebuild it tenderly with fragile care and concern from her loved ones.

“If there was only something for her to do, something to keep her busy, something to read or something else that would provide stimulation for her brain and body, but there is no form of vocational training and education in the prison. She is alone with her thoughts and prayers. We do not know if she has a Bible, but it is seldom the case. It gives me comfort that Jesus is called Emmanuel, God with us, because I am comforted that Asia is not alone.”

Pakistan is ranked #8 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us) of the worst persecutors of Christians.

13 Comments

  • Alan says:

    How difficult it must be to live every day in the some of the worst that this world is. But she is not alone.
    Here in the West, in ‘civil’ society that is so unlike Jesus, we can be so blind to the reality that this is hell too, just made more pleasant being disguised.

  • Mike Brady says:

    If you have faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of your life, as I do, then we must do this verse, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3

    What can we do? I pray for Asia and her husband. I am angry that my sister is going through this

  • Dean says:

    Asia, we will lift you up before our LORD. May He give you His peace, strength, and love, and may your release come quickly to His glory.

  • Let us continue to remember our dear sister Asia Bibi in prayers. Help us to stand for Jesus even in the midst of the most horrible conditions. Thank you for Asia’s faith in You. You are the God of all comfort (II Corinthinans 1:3). Let us all join in prayers for her comfort in the midst of these inhumane conditions, knowing that the trial of your, being much more precious than the gold that perishes, will be unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus. Thank you

  • Tami Carter says:

    Dear sister Asia, we are praying daily for your strength, we cannot imagine here in a basically free country, what you must endure each day to stay committed to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our thoughts, prayers & tears are with you always & of course to your precious family who waits desperately for you. We cannot wait for the Lord to rapture us from this earth where we will all praise our Heavenly Father together! Come Lord Jesus!!

  • Ricky Sikes says:

    I pray the Lord will let His presence be known to you. May He talk with you there and hug you inside where you need the quieting of your soul.May He fill your lungs with His fresh pure air, and heal your breathing. May He hold your troubled heart in His hand and pronounce His peace upon it.May the Holy Spirit speak words of hope and encourage you. May He keep your mind and soul balanced and steady in the lonely days and nights. May you not be offended with the Lord for not understanding the ‘Why’ of your suffering.And finally, may you know that we, your brothers and sister have not forgotten you, for the Holy Spirit keeps you on our hearts and in our prayers.

  • Asia we are praying with you and your family. May the almighty God whom you serve deliver you that the world shall know that indeed our God reigns.

  • julie moss says:

    God bless you and your families. Keep looking up to Jesus. Nothing you are going through is in vain. Don’t sell the truth. God bless you

  • julie moss says:

    Inspirational Readings by A.B. Simpson

    Days of Heaven on Earth
    Wednesday, October 07, 2015
    How much grace it requires to bear a misunderstanding rightly and to receive an unkind judgment in holy sweetness! Nothing tests the Christian character more than to have some evil thing said about us. This is the file that soon proves whether we are electroplate or solid gold. If we could only know the blessings that lie hidden in our lives, we would say like David, when Shimei cursed him, Let him curse; . . . It may be the Lord will . . . requite me good for his cursing this day (2 Samuel 16:11-12).
    Some people get easily turned aside from the grandeur of their life work by pursuing their own grievances and enemies. Soon their lives become one little whirl of petty warfare. It is like a nest of hornets. We may disperse the hornets, but we will probably get terribly stung and get nothing for our pains, for even their honey is not worth a search.
    God give us more of Jesus’ Spirit. When he was reviled, [he] reviled not again; . . . but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously (1 Peter 2:23).
    Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself (Hebrews 12:3).

    Scripture
    He opened not his mouth—Isaiah 53:7

  • We are praying for you! We know God is going to deliver you from this, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Jesus Christ Bless! 🙂

  • Dearest Heavenly Father,
    We ask you to comfort Asia as only you can. Give her a glimpse of what is in store for her when you call her Home or when Jesus returns. Father we ask you to also comfort her husband and children through their grief. We pray that she would be released to join her family. We ask this in your name. Amen

  • Jd says:

    Praying for you, sister!

Leave a Reply