Amidst threats, Asiya Bibi's lawyer leaves Pakistan

06 November, 2018, 22:57 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Pak Supreme Court To Rule On Christian Woman Facing Death Over Blasphemy

The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman at the centre of a divisive blasphemy case has pleaded for global help to leave the country, saying he feared for his family's safety.

The lawyer representing a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after nearly eight years on death row, has fled the country in fear for his life, an associate told CNN on Sunday.

Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, who won her the case, has already fled the country for his safety. Her husband, Ashiq Masih, returned from Britain with their children in mid-October and was waiting for her release so that they could fly out of Pakistan.

Pakistan's top court acquitted Ms Bibi on Wednesday and ordered her release in a move that infuriated the country's hard-line Islamists, who have held nationwide protests demanding her execution.

"I request President Donald Trump to help us to leave (the country), and I request the prime minister of the United Kingdom to do their level best to help us, to grant us freedom", said Masih, in a video message, seen by AFP, also requesting help from the Canadian prime minister.

He also called for asylum from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump in the footage.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has not been known to reverse its decisions, but court reviews typically take years.

The family has not disclosed her destination, but France and Spain have offered asylum.

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The official route to asylum would mean the family would need to make the request after leaving Pakistan.

The case began in June 2009 when Bibi was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields.

It prompted more than 2,000 Islamists to block a key road linking the capital, Islamabad, with the garrison city of Rawalpindi, causing traffic jams.

Since the landmark ruling, radical Islamists have blocked highways and damaged or set fire to dozens of vehicles to pressure the government to stop Bibi's release from an undisclosed detention facility.

Ms Bibi's lawyer, Mr Mulook, said he left Pakistan following the acquittal "just to save [my] life from [an] angry mob" and because of fears for his family's safety.

"I consulted and everybody is of this opinion (that I should leave)", he said, adding that he would return to the country to continue his work on the case if he was given protection by security forces.

Asiya Bibi was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 in a blasphemy case for her alleged comments against Prophet Mohammed during an argument with three Muslim women.

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