04/11/2019 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – In a recent interview with the BBC, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman formally on death row for allegedly committing blasphemy, would be allowed to leave Pakistan “very soon”.
Speaking to BBC, Prime Minister Khan said, “There is a little bit of a complication. And I can’t speak on the media about [it]. But I can assure you she is safe and she will be leaving in weeks.”
On October 31, 2018, Pakistan’s Supreme Court announced that they had acquitted Bibi of the blasphemy charges that had kept her on death row. In explaining its decision, the court said that there was ultimately not enough evidence to convict Bibi.
Following the announcement of the acquittal, thousands of religious hardliners took to the streets in protest. These protesters demanded the court review its decision and not allow Bibi to leave Pakistan until that review had taken place.
Earlier this year, on January 29, Pakistan’s Supreme Court confirmed Bibi’s acquittal. However, instead of being allowed to leave the country, Bibi was transported to a military facility where she has been kept safe.
Bibi was on death row for nearly nine years after her conviction and death sentence were announced by the Sessions Court in Sheikhupura in 2010. The blasphemy accusation against Bibi was based on flimsy evidence following a dispute that took place in June 2009 between Bibi and a group of Muslim coworkers with whom she had been harvesting berries in Sheikhupura. The Muslim coworkers became angry with Bibi when she, a Christian whom they considered unclean, drank water from the same water bowl as the Muslims. An argument between Bibi and the Muslim women ensued and later the Muslim coworkers reported to a local cleric that Bibi had blasphemed against the Prophet Muhammad.
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