A few days after the death sentence was pronounced against Christin Asia Bibi in Pakistan, her future remains uncertain. After mass protests, the Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labaik and the government in Islamabad agreed that the Islamists may appeal and Bibi is prohibited from leaving the country.
„We are nowhere safe,“ Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih told Deutsche Welle yesterday. After three days of rioting, the Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labaik declared the mass protests over, given the agreement with the government. Minister of Religion Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and Information Minister Fayazulhasan Chohan confirmed the agreement.
„This agreement should never have existed,“ said Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih Deutsche Welle. His wife, who has been imprisoned for ten years for alleged blasphemy, is „in grave danger.“ He appealed to the government to ensure its security. He and his daughters, too, were not safe and constantly changed their whereabouts.
Bibi’s lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook told AFP that the Islamists‘ violent reaction to the verdict was „sad, but not unexpected.“ „Painful“, however, is the answer of the government. „You can not even implement a judgment of the Supreme Court of the country,“ he regretted. Out of concern for his own safety, the lawyer left the country yesterday. But he wanted to „continue to fight in court for Asia Bibi“.
Pakistani media criticized the agreement between the government and Islamists. „Another government has surrendered to the violent religious extremists who believe in neither democracy nor the constitution,“ the newspaper’s editorial Dawn said.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan lifted the death sentence on Bibi for blasphemy on Wednesday after eight years. He freed the woman, whose case had caused a stir internationally, from all charges. Blasphemy is a serious accusation in strictly conservative Islamic Pakistan. According to allegations by a US Committee on Religious Freedom, about 40 people are currently serving life imprisonment or awaiting execution.