Friday, November 2, 2018
Pakistan: 11,000 Muslims in protests against acquittal of Christian “blasphemer,” demand public hanging
Protests against the acquittal of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy have drawn over 11,000 people to the streets of several major cities in Pakistan.
On Friday, 5,000 radical Islamists gathered in the capital Islamabad calling for the public execution of Asia Bibi – while almost 4,000 staged a sit-in in the eastern city of Lahore.
Demonstrators blocked major streets and set fire to dozens of vehicles in protest at the landmark decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday that the mom-of-5 should be freed.
Bibi was convicted in 2010 of blasphemy and sentenced to death after being accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. She always denied any wrongdoing.
Other rallies were held in Peshawar – a city in northern Pakistan – and on a major road linking Islamabad with Rawalpindi, a city in Pubjab province. According to Associated Press, no violence has been reported.
Meanwhile, a lawyer representing a cleric in Punjab province who filed the initial blasphemy charges against Bibi, has petitioned Pakistan’s highest court to review its decision to acquit.
Judges are yet to determine when the petition will be heard. It's feared the release of Bibi – who's still being held at an undisclosed location – might be delayed by the process. Reversing its ruling would be a rare move by the Supreme Court in Pakistan. Court reviews usually take years
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