Blasphemy: Asia Bibi released, protected

Blasphemy: Asia Bibi released, protected
Asia Bibi

The Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row, Asia Bibi, has been released from prison.

She has, despite her having been released, been kept away, following possible attack by hardliners who are protesting the reversal of the death sentence.

A Pakistani court, according to British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, report earlier, overturned the death sentence of Bibi arguing that the case against her was not genuine.

Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

She had however denied the allegation and been in solitary confinement for about eight years.

In the judgement, Chief Justice Saqib Nisarm, said Asia Bibi could walk free from jail in Sheikupura, near Lahore, immediately if not wanted in connection with any other case.

Bibi was not in court when the verdict was given.

According to the BBC report, Bibi’s trial stemmed from an altercation she had with a group of women in June 2009.

The release of 53 years old Bibi sparked off protests as some hardliners were opposed to the acquittal.

Subsequent developments saw Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, raising alarm over the safety of his wife and the family in general.

He pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada.

Masih declared that Pakistan was no longer safe for them, British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, reports.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudry told the BBC that security had been “beefed up” to protect Asia Bibi.

“Yes, there is a situation and we are dealing with it, but I assure you that her life is not in danger,” he told the BBC’s Newshour programme much earlier.