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Fresh concerns raised over safety of Asia Bibi

Mon 12 Nov 2018
By Alex Williams

The future of Asia Bibi came under fresh scrutiny on Monday, almost two weeks since the Christian mother-of-five was acquitted of blasphemy.

Supporters expressed dismay that Ms Bibi, who had been on death row for eight years, is being barred from leaving the country - pending a review of the decision to clear her.

The British Pakistani Christian Association raised fears for Ms Bibi's security arrangements, given the assassinations of two politicians who spoke out in her defence.

 

Chairman, Wilson Chowdhry told Premier she remains under the guard of security officers in the capital city, Islamabad.

He explained: "She's being protected by the Pakistani Government by their own security forces, the same security forces that failed to protect Salmaan Taseer, Shabaz Bhatti [pictured below] and [former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

"So, obviously, as you can imagine, people around the world are quite frightened about how safe she is.

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The Pakistan government bowed to calls from members of the Islamist hard-line Tehreek-e-Labaik political party to stop Asia Bibi from leaving the country until her acquittal is reviewed.

Meanwhile, a number of western countries - including Canada and Italy - have offered Asia asylum.

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Wilson Chowdhry went on to say: "We are confident that no Supreme Court judge is going to reach any decision counter to the one that was given by the most senior Supreme Court judges in her last appeal hearing.

"We totally believe that this will be dismissed but, until then, Asia Bibi cannot leave the country."

 

A prayer vigil highlighting Asia Bibi's plight is being staged outside the Pakistani High Commission in central London on Monday afternoon.

Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with Wilson Chowdhry from the British Pakistani Christian Association:

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