For the first time in nine years, Asia Bibi will be with her husband on Christmas.
But many of her fellow Christians in Pakistan are afraid of a backlash this holiday season in the wake of Bibi’s October exoneration by the nation’s Supreme Court on blasphemy charges.
Recent cases of abductions, allegations of blasphemy and hate crimes against Christians, who make up 2 percent of the South Asian country’s population, have led churches to beef up security as parishioners sing carols around bonfires and watch Nativity dramas.
“This is the best time for us. We plan the Christmas play throughout the year and arrange several programs in the festive season,” said a 17-year-old college student in Lahore. “But it is a tense situation in the country. We hope that the government will facilitate us in marking our religious season.”