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10/19/2018 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Will Pakistan release or execute Asia Bibi? This is the question many human right observers of Pakistan have been asking since her Supreme Court hearing on October 8.

Still one of the highest profile cases in Pakistan, Asia, a Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, has been on death row since her conviction in 2010.

Following the October 8 hearing, the three-member bench announced they would wait indefinitely to declare their verdict in the case. The Supreme Court went on to order a block on media comment on the case. Many see this as an attempt to halt the already inflamed passions of Pakistan’s religious extremists.

In spite of the media blackout, extremists took to the streets last Friday, October 12, in Lahore, Karachi, and Rawalpindi, demanding the government put Asia to death. Extremist groups like the   Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan warned of “terrible consequences” for the Supreme Court Justices if Asia was allowed to flee the country. Others threatened to bring the country to a standstill using sit-ins and other forms of protest.

Since her conviction, international support for Asia has grown. The United States, European Union, and Vatican have all registered interest in Asia’s case and have threatened economic sanctions if the Christian mother is not released.

This is where Pakistan currently finds itself. On one side, domestic extremists demanding blood and threatening violence. On the other side, the international community demanding freedom and threatening political and economic isolation. The question now is which side will Pakistan choose?

For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].