Pakistan: husband of acquitted christian woman asks for asylum

Pakistan: husband of acquitted christian woman asks for asylum

After the acquittal of a christian woman in pakistan convicted of vices against god, her husband has asked western countries for asylum.

"I ask the prime minister of the united kingdom to help us and give us freedom as far as possible," ashiq masih said in a video message on saturday, according to the british broadcaster BBC. In the video, he also asked canada and the USA for help, he said. Masih had previously told deutsche welle in an interview that he feared for his wife’s life.

Asia bibi was acquitted by the supreme court in islamabad on wednesday after eight years in a death cell. The radical islamic group tehreek-e-labaik pakistan (TLP) then organized nationwide street protests. The protests ended after the TLP reached an agreement with the government. According to the report, islamabad wants to allow an appeal against the supreme court’s decision and prevent bibi from leaving the country.

Pakistan’s information minister fawad chaudry told the BBC the agreement with the islamists was necessary "to resolve the situation non-violently". Security measures to protect bibi had been increased. Her life is not in danger.

Pakistani human rights minister shireen mazari accused the short messaging service twitter of not blocking the user account of TLP supporter khadim rizvi despite a request from the government. Rizvi had used the social network to spread instructions during the protests.

Bibi’s husband told deutsche welle that the government’s agreement with the islamists made him shiver. It should never have come to this. "My family is afraid, my relatives are afraid and my friends are also afraid," masih told the broadcaster.

51-year-old bibi remains in custody. Pakistani media had suggested in recent days that she may have already left the country.

The christian bibi was accused of having spoken abusively about the prophet mohammed during an argument with muslim women in her village. The mother of five was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death the following year under the blasphemy law in the predominantly muslim country.

Bibi’s lawyer saiful malook had already left pakistan on saturday morning, according to a report in the express tribune, fearing for his life and that of his family. But he will return to defend bibi in court if the militar provides him with security.


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