Pakistan Woman Accused of Blasphemy to be Freed?

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A Christian woman facing death in Pakistan for committing blasphemy may be released from prison soon.

Speculation is growing in Pakistan that Asia Bibi may be pardoned soon by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Bibi's arrest came following an argument with Muslim co-workers. They had refused to drink from a water bowl used by Bibi, saying it was contaminated because a Christian drank from it. Bibi was taken into custody after the farm workers accused her of insulting their prophet Mohammed. A local judge found her guilty and sentenced her to death by hanging.

During an interview last week from prison, the mother of five said the charges filed against her were "fake charges," the result of a personal dispute. She said police mistreated her when she was arrested in June 2009.

"They slapped me four or five times," she said.

Bibi signed a letter last Saturday requesting a pardon from Pakistan's president. Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, promised Bibi he would deliver the missive and said he believes she will be forgiven.

Meanwhile, international pressure is mounting against Pakistan's blasphemy law. Many human rights groups like Amnesty International said it must be repealed and Bibi should be freed.

Shabahz Batti, the minister for Minority Affairs, suggests the prayers of Bibi's family may soon be answered.

"We are standing with them to provide them justice and I personally believe that Asia Bibi will be freed," Batti said.

If and when she is freed, she is likely to go into hiding or seek asylum in a western country. Muslim militants have murdered several other Christians accused of blasphemy after they were release from prison.

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CBN News
Gary Lane

Gary Lane

CBN News Sr. International Reporter

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