LAHORE: A Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan last year is “well” and faces “no threat in jail”, her husband told AFP Wednesday, rejecting recent claims of her poor health.
“She is perfectly alright, all the media stories about her are incorrect”, Ashiq Masih, husband of Asia Bibi, told AFP by phone.
The Masihi Foundation, a human rights group, said in December it had visited the 46-year-old and was quoted by Catholic news agency Fides describing Bibi's “very frail” physical and mental state.
But her husband said the rights group “never visited her”, and insisted “she has no threat in jail.”Jail Superintendent Sheikh Khalid Pervaiz in Sheikpura District also told AFP that Bibi had received no visitors apart from her husband.
“She is well in her lock up. She is getting special treatment in C-Class cell. No other person other than her husband met her in the jail for the last one year or so”, he said.
Bibi, a mother of five, is being held in a prison in Sheikpura in the Punjab region. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 after drinking water from a well reserved for Muslims and allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Her appeal at the High Court in Lahore is ongoing.
Pope Benedict XVI and the international community have condemned her conviction and have asked for her to be pardoned.
The French foreign ministry had said it was “deeply concerned” about Bibi, following the claims of her poor health from the human rights group, and called for quick action on her appeal.
The case has provoked controversy in Pakistan over its law on blasphemy, which critics say is used frequently by radical Muslims to discriminate against religious minorities in the country.
The Christian minority in Pakistan, often poor, represents around three per cent of the 180 million population.