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Hardliners threaten judges and announced protests before SC ruling on fate of Christian woman in Pakistan


Devdiscourse News Desk islamabad Pakistan
Updated: 11-10-2018 03:43 IST
Hardliners threaten judges and announced protests before SC ruling on  fate of Christian woman in Pakistan

Asia Bibi, who has been on death row since 2010, is at the centre of the high-profile case which has divided Pakistan and drawn prayers from the Vatican.(Image Credit: Twitter)

Religious hardliners in Pakistan Wednesday threatened judges and announced protests as the country awaits a Supreme Court ruling on the fate of a Christian woman who faces becoming the first person to be executed for blasphemy.

Asia Bibi, who has been on death row since 2010, is at the centre of the high-profile case which has divided Pakistan and drawn prayers from the Vatican.

Successive appeals against her conviction have failed.

On Monday the Supreme Court heard her last appeal and said it had reached a judgement, but refused to announce it immediately "for reasons to be recorded later".

On Wednesday Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious political party -- which had a strong showing in national elections earlier this year -- said in a press conference aired via YouTube that if she was freed the justices responsible would meet a "horrible" end.

The group's leaders also called for mass protests on Friday.

TLP, founded in 2015, blockaded the capital Islamabad for several weeks last year calling for stricter enforcement of Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.

That protest forced the resignation of the federal law minister and paved the way for the group to poll more than 2.23 million votes in the July 25 general election, in what analysts called a "surprisingly" rapid rise.

Separately on Wednesday, a former spokesman for Islamabad's notorious Red Mosque moved to prevent Bibi from leaving the country by petitioning the capital's High Court to put her on the no-fly list.

That case will be heard on Friday.

"Western forces are trying to get Asia Bibi out of the country but she should be hanged," the petitioner, Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmed, told AFP.

If the court upholds Bibi's conviction, the only recourse she will have will be a mercy petition to the president.

Freedom in Pakistan, however, means a life under threat by extremists.

The mere accusation of blasphemy is so explosive in the conservative Muslim country that anyone even accused of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

(With inputs from agencies.)

COUNTRY : Pakistan

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