The death sentence handed to Pakistani Christian mother Asia Bibi over a blasphemy charge has sparked a protest in Australia calling on the government to intervene in the case and help save her from being executed.
The protesters say Bibi was falsely accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and are now calling on the Australian government to have a diplomatic engagement with the Pakistani government to make sure the Christian mother has a fair trial. They also want protection for Bibi's family, the judicial team, and her legal representatives to prevent them from being harmed by local hardline Muslims, the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) details.
In a letter to be submitted to the Parliamentarians in New South Wales, the demonstrators are demanding that the Australian government guarantee the continuous enforcement of the principle of "one law for all" in their country. They are also asking the government to consider once again donating $49 million in aid to Pakistan.
BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry also released a statement decrying Pakistan's failure to protect Bibi and other Christian minorities. Echoing the demands of the protesters, he said Australia can be a significant player in the case, pointing out that the United Kingdom, the United States, and other major donors have started donating aid to help improve human rights in Pakistan.
"Australia's official policy involves tackling poverty by generating sustainable growth and employment, as well as focusing on education and health, all worthy goals," said Chowdhry. "Some of the poorest Pakistani citizens are Christians, and unfortunately they are typically kept there by a combination of debt-slavery and direct and systematic religious oppression, frequently including systematic sex slavery and targeting of Christian girls and women for kidnap, rape, forced conversion and marriage."
Last month, prominent Christian lawyer Sooba Bhatti appealed to the President of Pakistan to grant Bibi pardon for the capital punishment. He also asked the president to order Christian mother's immediate release and acquittal, Christians in Pakistan reports.
Bibi was arrested in June 2009 over blasphemy charges and was given a death sentence by a local judge the following year. She was also handed down a penalty amounting to around US$1,100.