Asia Bibi thanks Pope for prayers

Christian woman hopes to be free in 2014

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman imprisoned in Pakistan for blasphemy has written to Pope Francis, expressing thanks for his prayers and to express the hope that she will be in Rome for Christmas in 2014.

Still facing the death penalty for allegedly verbally insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, Bibi penned a letter to Pope Francis in time for Christmas, stating that she had marked the Christian celebration in her own way in her prison cell in Multan.

“Like many other prisoners, I also celebrated the birth of the Lord in prison,” she wrote. “I would have liked to be in St Peter’s for Christmas to pray with you,” she added, “but I trust in God’s plan for me and hopefully it will be achieved next year.”

In a message to those churches which have prayed and worked to secure her freedom, Bibi wrote: “I do not know how long I can go on and on. If I am still alive, it is thanks to the strength that your prayers give me…At this time I just want to trust the mercy of God, who can do everything, that all is possible. Only He can liberate me.”

First arrested in 2009 on the word of Muslim neighbours engaged in a feud with the Christin woman, Bibi has been held in Multan since as she awaits the outcome of an appeal to her entire case. She remains the most high profile Christian affected by Pakistan’s draconian and easily abused blasphemy law.

Buoyed by the knowledge that Pope Francis continues to pray for her wellbeing, Bibi’s letter concluded:

 “This gives me confidence that one day my freedom will be possible… Asia Bibi, your daughter in the Faith.”