Asia Bibi likely to be flown out of Pakistan amid death threats after being acquitted in blasphemy case

Islamabad: A Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy and was acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court is likely to be flown out of the country as the landmark verdict sparked countrywide protests and death threats from hardline groups.

Asia Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours. She always maintained her innocence, but has spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

 Asia Bibi likely to be flown out of Pakistan amid death threats after being acquitted in blasphemy case

A police official takes the thumb print of Asia Bibi, who was acquitted in a blasphemy case.  Reuters

The apex court's judgement, which was pronounced on Wednesday, triggered protests across Pakistan with protestors led by Islamic political party Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan and other groups blocking major highways and roads in different parts of the country.

Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih has reached Pakistan along with his family from the UK to shift her abroad, The News reported quoting sources. Masih was provided complete security by the law enforcement agencies, it said. Officials also said Bibi might be flown out of Pakistan due to the threat to her life.

However, it was not clear where she will go as several countries, including Canada, have offered asylum to her. The timing of her release was not been shared due to security reasons. She was kept in Sheikhupura jail near Lahore. Bibi's case has been deeply divisive in Pakistan where there is strong support for the controversial blasphemy laws.

The blasphemy laws were promulgated by former military dictator Ziaul Haq in 1980s. A person convicted under these laws is given death sentence. Bibi was the first woman who was given death sentence under the blasphemy laws.

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Updated Date: Nov 01, 2018 15:44:03 IST