Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts (Credit: Vatican Insider)
The case of Asia Bibi—innocent Christian and mother who was sentenced to death after being falsely accused of blasphemy—perfectly illustrates how a family in Pakistan is broken as a result of injustice and intolerance.”
Joseph Coutts, who serves as the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Karachi, Pakistan, and is one of the participants at the Synod Assembly in the Vatican, turned his thoughts to “all the Pakistani families who are going through suffering and division: for example, all those Christians and Muslims who are unjustly accused of blasphemy.” They are victims of Pakistan’s manipulated blasphemy law. The law is used to settle private controversies, as well as for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
After endless postponements, Bibi’s case is scheduled to be heard at the Lahore High Court on Thursday. The defense is to present the Court with a memorandum that will overturn all evidence against her and prove that the case was a deliberate set up and that the accusations are clearly false.
“I am convinced that we will be able to obtain an acquittal with regards to the false accusation of blasphemy. This will happen if the Court’s decision is based on the principles established in the criminal justice system and whether or not it will be influenced by the pressures of sectarian groups and extremists,” lawyer Naeem Shakir told Fides news agency in recent days.
“This is a trying time for all families in Pakistan who have been unfairly treated; they need the support of the Church and the numerous NGOs out there. We show them our support, we try to help them, taking care of legal representation for them and supporting them any way we can,” the bishop said.
“As Christians we are a small flock, we make up less than three percent of the population. We do what we can, promoting opportunities for interreligious dialogue, along with numerous civil society organizations composed of Muslims who defend human rights and peaceful coexistence,” Coutts said.