As per letter attached, the Australian Government has implicitly refused to provide urgent assistance to Ms Asia Bibi, in her desperate request for asylum. I am appalled but not surprised. After all, I have learned over the years to expect very little from this country’s political elite.
Ms Bibi is a Christian farm labourer from Pakistan whose story began in June 2009, when she was picking berries with other farmworkers in a field in Punjab, and got into an argument with two Muslim women who refused to drink water she fetched because it had been touched by a Christian.
Islamic blasphemy law in Pakistan carries the death sentence. Despite this harsh penalty, a remarkably light burden of proof needs to be produced and the accuser can refuse to repeat the allegation in court for fear of blaspheming themselves. Because the law sets no standards for evidence and no requirement to prove intent, Ms Bibi was convicted in 2010.
Fortunately, the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned her conviction on the grounds there was simply not enough evidence to support it. She was then acquitted after spending eight years on death row. Of course, in a truly civilised society nobody will risk losing their life for a hypothesis of criticising a religion.
As an Australian citizen, I am calling on the Prime Minister to take urgent action in saving Ms Bibi’s life, or him and his government will have been complicit in her death. I accept that processes need to followed, but this is an urgent matter which warrants special attention by the Australian government.
Scott Morrison claims to be a Christian. So I am urging him to prove that he really cares about the fate of an innocent person and fellow believer in the face of this desperate situation. The Prime Minister will show his true character if he does not stand by a desperate woman irrefutably in need of asylum.