Aasia Bibi’s husband calls for her protection, criticises govt deal with protesters


LAHORE: The husband of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death row for blasphemy, on Saturday criticised the government deal with protesters of religious groups that left her in legal limbo, and called on authorities to protect her.

Bibi’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court on Wednesday and she was ordered to be set free, triggering protests by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other religiopolitical groups who launched countrywide protests for three days.

The government and TLP reached a deal on Friday to conclude the latter’s protests. One of the major concessions the government agreed to was to “initiate the legal process” to place Bibi’s name on the exit control list (ECL).

The government had also assured the party it would not oppose a review petition filed against the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Aasia Bibi blasphemy case. A review petition has been filed with the top court.

“It is wrong to set a precedent in which you pile pressure onto the judiciary,” Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih told German Deutsche Welleradio.

He said the government should never have yielded to pressure from protesters.

Masih said the court had been “very courageous” to acquit his wife, an illiterate mother in her 50s whose case started in 2009 when she was accused of having uttered blasphemous remarks after an argument with two Muslim women.

“The current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding here and there, frequently changing our location,” Masih said.

Bibi’s lawyer fled Pakistan on Saturday, fearing for his life.

Masih demanded the government reinforce Bibi’s protection in prison, worrying that she may be attacked. He cited the case of two Christian men who were shot dead after a court acquitted them in another blasphemy case.

“The situation is dangerous for Aasia. I feel that her life is not secure,” he said. “So I appeal to government to enhance Aasia’s security in jail.”