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Asia Bibi's family

A court in Pakistan has told the country's president that he cannot grant a pardon to Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was sentenced to death for "blasphemy" against Muhammad (click here to read more). International Christian Concern (ICC) reports the Lahore High Court issued the order after lawyers argued that the president cannot issue the pardon before Asia's appeal to the High Court is decided.

ICC says Asia has appealed to the High Court for the reversal of her death sentence, but the court has yet to set a date for an appeal hearing. Pakistan's Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, said that President Asif Ali Zardari has pledged to intervene if the High Court unnecessarily delays deciding Asia's case. The president also asked Bhatti to investigate Asia's case, and Bhatti found her to be innocent.

Under Article 45 of Pakistan's constitution, the president has authority to free convicts. Meanwhile, ICC says fundamentalist Muslims have stepped up their threats against the Pakistani officials, warning that there will be anarchy if Asia is pardoned.

Thank the Lord for the president's willingness to intervene. Pray for Asia's release in the Lord's good timing, pray that He will use Asia's case to highlight the flaws of these infamous blasphemy laws in Pakistan and bring about change. Ask God to protect her and her family and all Christians in the area.

Find out more about the treatment of believers in Pakistan by visiting the Pakistan Country Report.