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Death sentence on Pakistani Christian overturned after 8 years on death row, sparking huge protests from Muslims demanding she is hanged – Asia Bibi’s family feel despite the verdict, staying in Pakistan is too dangerous

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Pakistani Christian who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has her death sentence overturned, sparking huge protests from Muslims demanding she is hanged
Mother-of-five Asia Bibi, 53, from Punjab, Pakistan, on death row since 2010
Accused of insulting Prophet Mohammed during an argument over cup of water
Supreme Court announced Wednesday that her conviction had been overturned
Hardline Islamists staged protests across the country, demanding that she be executed for the alleged crime
Leader of hard-line Tehreek-e-Labaik party [TLP]  has called for the death of the Supreme Court judges who overturned the conviction, and the govt of Prime Minister Imran Khan be ousted
Although Asia Bibi is set to be freed from prison, the family has said it is going to be too dangerous for them to stay in Pakistan
The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009, when she was working in a field near her home village in Sheikhupura, Punjab and was asked to fetch water.
The Muslim women she was labouring with objected, saying that as a non-Muslim Bibi was unfit to drink from the same water bowl as them
Bibi who stated that the women insulted her religion, responded: ‘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?’
She subsequently was beaten up, arrested and charged – A year later she was convicted and thrown into solitary for the past 8 years
The case outraged Christians worldwide and has been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help her were assassinated, including Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was shot by his own bodyguard

A Christian woman in Pakistan has seen her religion based death sentence overturned by the country’s highest court after spending nearly a decade on death row,.
Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy, after allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed during an argument over a cup of water, in the city of Punjab.
Her conviction was overturned Wednesday leading widespread rioting as hardline muslims in the country demanding she be hanged.
The 53-year-old mother-of-five, who has been on death row since 2010, would have become the first person executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, and her case has incited deadly violence in the Muslim-majority country.
Moments after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction, protests erupted in several major cities across Pakistan, where thousands of Islamists demanded her execution.
Around the country supporters of hardline Islamist party, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan [TLP] blocked the road carrying placards demanding that Asia Bibi should be hanged on Wednesday

A poster carried at a protest in Karachi shows Asia Bibi's burning head in a noose.JPGFrightening poster carried at a protest in Karachi dipicts asia Bibi’s burning head in a noose
Asia Bibi 4Free but not quite: Asia Bibi is set to be freed from prison, but the family has said it is going to be too dangerous for them to stay in Pakistan
TLP supporters block the road during a protest against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Asia Bibi's conviction in Karachi, Pakistan.JPGIncensed TLP supporters block the road during a protest against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Bibi’s conviction in Karachi, demanding death for all concerned
Pakistan protesters and religious students listen to their leaders during a rally in Islamabad.JPGStoking the fire: Protesters and religious students listen to their leaders during a rally in Islamabad, Pakistan

Her legal team celebrated the court’s decision amid beefed-up security in Islamabad.
Asia Bibi may now be a free woman, but her family has said they will have to leave Pakistan for their own safety.

Blasphemy is a charge so sensitive in Pakistan that anyone even accused of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
Ms Bibi’s family and their supporters fear that she would be targeted by Islamists unless she gets protection from the moment she leaves prison.
Her husband Ashiq Masih said:’The circumstances are such that she would be unable to live in Pakistan as a free woman. She would not survive.’
‘Living in Pakistan for us is very difficult. We don’t go out of our home and if we go, we come out very carefully.’
The family expressed the desire to seek refuge in a safe country, in one of the western countries. ‘The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings,’ Bibi’s lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook told AFP.

‘This is the biggest and happiest day of my life.’
During the appeal hearing on October 8, a three-member panel of Supreme Court justices appeared to question the case against her, with Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, considered Pakistan’s top expert in criminal law, listing flaws in the proceedings.
‘I don’t see any derogatory remarks vis-a-vis the holy Koran as per the FIR,’ added Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, referring to the initial complaint filed in the case.
The case outraged Christians worldwide and has been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help her were assassinated, including Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was shot by his own bodyguard.
The allegations against Bibi date back to 2009, when she was working in a field near her home village in Sheikhupura, Punjab and was asked to fetch water.
The Muslim women she was labouring with objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to drink from the same water bowl as them.

This prompted the Muslim women to go to a local imam and accuse Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed.
Even before she could be arrested and charges filed, a violent mob descended on their family home, and battered her in front of her children.
The abuse was so violent, police were called to the scene, but after rescuing the mother-of-five, they arrested her and threw her in jail, and a year later she was convicted of blasphemy.
She has been held in solitary confinement since her arrest and was told to remain so following her conviction in 2010 for her own safety due to the risk of Muslim prisoners attacking her.

TLP supporters block the road carrying placards demanding that Asia Bibi should be hanged in Faisalabad on Wednesday.JPGHardline Islamist supporters block the road carrying placards demanding that Asia Bibi should be hanged in Faisalabad on Wednesday

Blasphemy is a charge so sensitive in Pakistan that anyone even accused of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
The charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused by religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal scores.
The somewhat amorphous construct of the law does not define what blasphemy constitutes, and evidence is often not reproduced in court for fear of committing a fresh offence.
Despite the loose clauses, calls for reform of the blasphemy law have regularly been met with violence and rejected, forcing the hands of politicians like Prime Minister Imran Khan who launched a wholehearted defence of the laws during his election campaign earlier this year, vowing his party ‘fully’ supports the legislation and ‘will defend it’.

 

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  1. Chaos in Pakistan Parliament as law makers brawl over fate of Aasia Bibi, Christian woman saved from death row for blasphemy – Her lawyer reveals he’s ‘forced’ to flee to Europe by the UN to save his life – KonnieMoments

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