Aasia Bibi remains in danger a week after ‘not guilty’ verdict
Aasia Bibi remains in fear of her life in protective custory in Pakistan a week after a Supreme Court exoneration which should have led to her immediate release and secure asylum in another country.
In the ensuing week Imran Khan’s government bowed to threats of civil unrest, agreed a deal with Islamic hardliners to end nationwide street protests following her acquittal.
Under the deal agreed with the Tehreek-e-Labaik party which encouraged the protests, authorities will ban Aasia from leaving the country and have agreed to release all protestors detained by police during last week’s street demonstrations. In exchange, Tehreek-e-Labaik leaders ordered protestors to disperse.
The government also agreed not to oppose potential efforts to “appeal” the Supreme Court’s verdict, although there is no known legal precedent or mechanism for a Supreme Court Judgement being reviewed in Pakistan.
Aasia’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook, left Pakistan last week after receiving death threats, telling journalists “I need to stay alive as I still have to fight the legal battle for Asia Bibi.”
“The agreement has sent a shiver down my spine,” Aasia’s husband said. In a video message, he appealed directly to the UK government: “I am requesting the prime minister of the UK help us and as far as possible grant us freedom.”
He also stated, “The current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding here and there, frequently changing our location.”