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Published on 15 December, 2011

Canada demands release of Asia Bibi

Pakistan (MNN) — Canada's Parliament is demanding the release of a Christian woman condemned under Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Seven days ago, 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.

The Central
Council of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) has praised the action on behalf
of Bibi, a Christian mother of five, who faces the death penalty under the
blasphemy law.

Pakistani Christian
Post (PCP) reported that 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.   

PCP said
addressing the House, 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.

Voice
of the Martyrs, along with dozens of religious rights watchdog groups, agrees. Many
Pakistani Christians have been falsely accused under the Blasphemy Law, or Law
295.

Law
295a, blaspheming Islam, and Law 295b, blaspheming the Qur'an, are criminal
offenses. Law 295c makes blaspheming Mohammed a crime punishable by death.
Courtrooms packed with militants have often pressured judges into returning a
guilty verdict or continuing trials indefinitely.

Pray that Christians in Pakistan will have a bold testimony to
those around them. Pray for protection
for Christians facing intimidation and threats.

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  • Primary Religion: Islam
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