Rand Paul Calls On U.S. To Cut Off Aid To Pakistan Until Asia Bibi Is Freed

Jon Brown | Contributor

Republican Sen. Rand Paul called on the United States to cease all foreign aid to Pakistan until they free Asia Bibi, in an op-ed published Monday on Breitbart. Paul also demanded that Pakistan stop persecuting Christians and claimed that the United States has been subsidizing a “war on Christianity.”

Paul began his op-ed by recounting the lingering ordeal of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five from rural Pakistan, who has spent nearly 10 years in prison for allegedly insulting Mohammed in 2009. During a quarrel with Muslim women over a cup of water, Bibi claimed that they refused to drink after her. They said her faith had made the cup “unclean.” The women then pressed her to convert to Islam, but she refused.

“I’m not going to convert,” Bibi replied to them. “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?”

Shortly thereafter, she was dragged off to a prison in Lahore, Pakistan, where for nearly a decade she awaited a death sentence in a windowless, 8-by-10-foot cell. Insulting Islam or its prophet is a capital offense in Pakistan. (RELATED: Andrew Brunson’s US Pastor Describes What It Was Like Inside Turkish Courtroom)

The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura located in Pakistan's Punjab Province, November 13, 2010. Standing left to right is Esha, 12, Sidra, 18 and Eshum, 10. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura located in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, November 13, 2010. Standing left to right is Esha, 12, Sidra, 18 and Eshum, 10. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

Bibi was acquitted last month by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, but protests calling for her death have since riled the country, and Bibi continues to fear for her life. In an apparent attempt to placate the raucous mobs, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to place a travel ban on Bibi and allow her acquittal to be appealed by an extremist group.

Her husband has begged Western leaders for his family’s asylum, including President Donald Trump. “That’s why I’ve asked President Trump to personally intervene and to urge the Pakistani government to release Asia Bibi to the United States,” Paul wrote.

The U.K. recently caused controversy amid claims that it has refused asylum to Bibi because they fear unrest at their embassies and in their own country, which has a sizable number of Pakistani Muslims. (RELATED: Anti-Pedophilia Bill Rejected In Pakistan As ‘Anti-Islamic’)

Pakistani supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a religious political party, chant slogans and gestures while waving the party falg during a protest following the Supreme Court decision to acquit Christian woman Asia Bibi of blasphemy, in Karachi on November 4, 2018. (RIZWAN TABASSUM / AFP)

Paul explained that he has, for years, advocated on behalf of Bibi in Congress and in his own writings. He lamented that such efforts have so far proven largely ineffective.

“Until Asia Bibi is freed, Pakistan should not receive a penny of U.S. aid! Not one penny should go to any nation that persecutes or kills Christians!” Paul demanded.

Paul continued:

You would think your representatives would get that message, but they don’t. In 2014, I pushed legislatively to stop foreign aid to any country that gives the death penalty or life in prison to Christians for religious choices. Both Republicans and Democrats voted overwhelmingly to continue funding countries that persecute Christians. The committee voted 16-2 to keep sending aid to such countries.

Paul contended that he has been “fighting this uphill battle on foreign aid subsidizing the war on Christianity for years, nearly alone.”

“Asia Bibi deserves asylum in the United States,” Paul concluded. “She deserves real freedom. And Americans deserve to know their tax dollars aren’t being sent to subsidize a country’s war on Christianity.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 6: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a Federal Spending Oversight And Emergency Management Subcommittee hearing June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Members of both parties raised questions about a lack of Congressional oversight of military deployments overseas. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 6: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a Federal Spending Oversight And Emergency Management Subcommittee hearing June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Members of both parties raised questions about a lack of Congressional oversight of military deployments overseas. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Pakistan has repeatedly been the object of the president’s ire. In September, the U.S. military canceled $300 million in aid amid claims by the Trump administration that the country was harboring insurgents.

Trump said recently in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing for us” and expressed his displeasure that Osama bin Laden had lived so long in the country after 9/11. In a series of tweets Monday, Trump further criticized the country.

“Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!”

“….We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another. They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!”

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