Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Pakistani victim: ‘Salmaan Taseer came here and he sacrificed his life for me’

Sentenced to death for blasphemy, Aasia Bibi’s hopes rested on the liberal politician killed this week. Andrew Buncombe gives the first account of her despair at the murder

The Independent, January 8, 2011

 Reuters: Followers mourn Governor Salmaan Taseer in a candlelit vigil yesterday 
 
The Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy broke down in her prison cell and wept inconsolably when she learnt of the assassination earlier this week of Salmaan Taseer, the outspoken politician who had visited her in jail and demanded that she be pardoned.

Aasia Noreen, commonly known as Aasia Bibi, had been greatly buoyed when the Governor of Punjab province travelled to Sheikhpura jail last November and told her he would take up her case with Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari. But when she learned he had been gunned down, apparently because of his opposition to blasphemy laws which had placed her behind bars, the 45-year-old mother-of-two fell into despair. “She kept crying throughout the day. She kept saying. ‘That man came here and he sacrificed his life for me’,” said a prison source. “She said, ‘I know that everything that has happened is because of me. I know in my heart of hearts, that person came here for me and what I feel now, no one else can feel’.”

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