For release: 20 March 2015
The Australian Christian Lobby has renewed calls for the Australian Government to exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws.
With the Pakistan cricket team here as our guests and playing Australia this afternoon, it did not seem right that Pakistani laws mandating the execution of Christians for supposed blasphemy should go without challenge, according to ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton.
It is understood hundreds of people are on death row in Pakistan including several Christians for alleged blasphemy against Islam's prophet Muhammed.
Asia Bibi, a mother of five had her death sentence by hanging confirmed by a Lahore court late last year
"The world was rightly revolted by the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January carried out by two Islamists seeking to avenge Muhammed's honour.
"But who needs masked gunmen when the government of a supposed moderate Islamic state will do the killing," Mr Shelton said.
He was particularly fearful for Ms Bibi following last week's lifting of Pakistan's moratorium on the death penalty
"Asia Bibi's future is bleak because Pakistan does not have freedom of religion and enforces its laws with brutality.
"It does not seem right that we enjoy a cricket match with this nation while innocent people are to be killed at the hands of its government," Mr Shelton said.
"International pressure should be brought to bear on Pakistan to have it repeal its blasphemy laws and free those on death row convicted under them."
Mr Shelton wrote about Asia Bibi's plight in The Australian newspaper