“Prison staff is very good and kind to her and they are very much concerned about Aasia’s health and security as well, but due to the wrong news broadcasting the prison staff and prison authorities are feeling hurt,” says an update about Aasia Bibi from Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) Pakistan. (Note: I know several CLAAS members personally, and have worked with them on blasphemy case fact-findings for the HRCP). Reproduced below, their email of Dec 29, 2011:
As we have reported on 24th December that CLAAS team headed by Mr. M.A. Joseph Francis MBE (National Director CLAAS) including Ms. Katherine Sapna (Program Officer CLAAS) and Mr. Nadeem Anthony Advocate (Research Officer CLAAS) visited Aasia Bibi in the District Jail, Sheikhupura and shared with her the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ and Christmas blessings as well. CLAAS found her safe and sound. She was in good health and good mental condition and told to CLAAS team that prison staff is very caring and kind to her. She was very happy and told to CLAAS that she is only Christian female accused in the prison but the female prison staffs (wardens) celebrated Christmas with her by cutting the Christmas cake to wish her.
Aasia informed CLAAS that it’s about three years; no one comes to visit her except her husband and children. It is surprising that how people (organizations) can give wrong statements when they did not visited Aasia Bibi even they did not see her in the prison. CLAAS team visited her many times in prison but never found her sick. Massehi Foundation a Pakistani organization based in UK is spreading wrong news about Aasia Bibi, on 21st and 22nd December in the daily Nawa-i-e-Waqat and daily Khabrain Urdu newspapers of Lahore; they released news from Vatican City through staff reporter and said that Aasia Bibi has become physically weak she is unable to walk and hardly can stand on her feet. While Aasia told CLAAS that Jail staff is very much concerned about her security therefore they provide her uncooked material and she cooks food daily three times for herself.
CLAAS just want to request please avoid news broadcasting about Aasia Bibi and suggests to understand the sensitivity of the issue; it is dangerous not only for Aasia but also for the others who are facing the same charges of blasphemy or suffering from the unfair & prejudice practices of the judicial system as well as the grossly unsatisfactory prison system in the country.
Prison staff is very good and kind to her and they are very much concerned about Aasia’s health and security as well but due to the wrong news broadcasting the prison staff and prison authorities are feeling hurt.
It is worth mentioning here that Massehi Foundation never visited Aasia Bibi in the prison and they are not pursuing her case in the court.
We request you please keep quiet about Aasia case and do not highlight her and mention her in the Pakistan newspapers.