Islamist Party in Pakistan Threaten to Incite National Disorder if Aasia Bibi Released From Death Row

October 16, 2018

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The Pakistan Islamist Tehreek-i-Labbaik party has threatened to paralyse the country within hours if the Supreme Court releases Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for “blasphemy” in 2010.

Local leaders have already been called to stage nation-wide sit-ins although a verdict is yet to be announced by the Supreme Court three judge panel who heard Aasia Bibi’s long-awaited final appeal against her death sentence on 8 October.

Addressing a rally in Lahore, Pir Afzal Qadri patron-in-chief of the party said, “Judges’ remarks have sown doubt … and fears that she would be released soon,” Adding that an acquittal would be “deemed an attack on Islam, the Constitution and blasphemy law”.

Mob violence is a very real threat for Christians accused of "blasphemy". In 2013, a Muslim mob torched Christians' homes and businesses in Joseph Colony, Lahore after a Christian was falsely accused of "blasphemy"

At a rally in Karachi participants demanded the execution of Aasia Bibi and for action to be taken against those supporting the growing campaign for her release.

Islamist leaders asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to announce a clear policy on blasphemy laws, in a week that also saw the senate drop a key bill seeking to amend the “blasphemy” law so that those who made false accusations of “blasphemy” would be punished in the same way as those convicted of “blasphemy”. The bill was withdrawn at the request of the Prime Minister’s own centrist party.

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