One of the most frightening things about Pakistan’s blasphemy law is that the simplest act can spiral into charges that can bring the death penalty. In the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, it started when she brought water to her fellow women workers on a farm.
On that hot day in 2009, Bibi had a sip from the same container and some of the Muslim women became angry that a Christian had drunk from the same water. They demanded she convert, she refused. Five days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy. She was convicted and sentenced to death. Later this month, the Supreme Court is expected to hear her appeal.
Pakistan is under new international pressure to curb Islamic extremism, and activists at home say one place to start is by changing its blasphemy law.
In January, the U.S. State Department cited the law as one of the reasons as it put Pakistan on a watch list of countries accused of “severe violations of religious freedoms.”
The move came as the Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Islamabad, freezing security aid until it cracks down on militant networks operating from its soil to carry out attacks in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental agency that combats money laundering and terror financing, has given Pakistan until June to show how it will tackle radicalism or else be put on a black list, a step that could hurt its international financial ties.
Read more at ABC News.