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Freed Asia Bibi plans to leave Pakistan soon

AP/Islamabad
Filed on November 1, 2018 | Last updated on November 1, 2018 at 10.24 pm
Freed Asia Bibi plans to leave Pakistan soon

(AFP)

Bibi's acquittal immediately raised fears of religious violence - and presented a challenge to the government.

A Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death row for blasphemy plans to leave the country, her family said on Thursday as radicals mounted rallies for a second day against the verdict, blocking roads and burning tires in protest.

The developments followed a landmark move by Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday that overturned the 2010 conviction against Asia Bibi for blasphemy.

Bibi's acquittal immediately raised fears of religious violence - and presented a challenge to the government.

Bibi remained at an undisclosed location on Thursday where the 54-year-old mother of five was being held for security reasons, awaiting her formal release, her brother, James Masih told AP.

Masih said his sister simply would not be safe in Pakistan. "She has no other option and she will leave the country soon," he said. Masih would not disclose the country of her destination but both France and Spain have offered asylum.

Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, had returned from Britain with their children in mid-October and was waiting for her to join them, the brother added.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers in parliament called on Thursday for reforming the judicial system and Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law - so that innocents like Bibi wouldn't spent years languishing in jail.

Hafiz Saeed urged followers to hold rallies across Pakistan on Friday to condemn Bibi's release. Saeed is the founder of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik claimed on Thursday that two of its supporters were killed by police fire during overnight clashes in Karachi. No government official could immediately confirm any casualties.


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