Ashiq Masih (left), the husband of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy, sits with daughters Esham (right) and Esha at their residence in Lahore on October 31, 2014. (AFP photo/Arif Ali)
More than half a million people have signed a petition started by a British woman to save Asia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy. In her petition on change.org, a social action website, university student Emily Clarke says Asia Bibi, who was condemned to death in November 2010, was alleged to have made disparaging comments about Islam after co-workers objected to her drinking out of their water glasses because of her Christian faith. Following a recent surge in support, 572,000 people have signed her petition, addressed to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary John Hammond, with the total mounting by the minute. “The latest increase is incredible – and shows that people have not forgotten Asia Bibi even though she was sentenced to death over four years ago, for a crime she steadfastly denies,” she told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. She added: “People who stand up for Asia Bibi in Pakistan put their lives at risk. In 2011 two politicians were killed for speaking out against Pakistan’s barbaric blasphemy laws.” She was referring to Salman Tazeer, the governor of the Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, national minorities’ minister, both shot dead because of their support for Asia Bibi. “This makes it more important than ever that the international community stands together to show our support for Asia and for the people putting their lives at risk to save her,” she said. Earlier, a million people signed a petition started by Clarke calling on governments around the world to stand up for Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan. The verdict was eventually overturned and she was reunited with her husband and children.
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