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Protesters against Asia Bibi's release arrested

Sun 25 Nov 2018
By Cara Bentley

Prime Minister Imran Khan has detained hardliner Islamists who had been rioting over the release of Christian woman Asia Bibi. 

She had been detained for eight years, away from her family, accused of blaspheming against the Muslim prophet Muhammad and insulting Islam. 

Asia Bibi was acquitted last month but, being a high profile religious freedom case around the world, her release attracted focused attention from those who want to kill her - either because they still believe she insulted Islam or because she has come to represent Christianity in a majority Muslim nation. 

Many of the protests after her acquittal were led by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party and their leader Khadim Hussain Rizv. 

At one point they managed to strike a deal with the government that they would stop protesting if Asia Bibi was considered to be put on an exit control list which would mean she would be banned from leaving the country. 

1,100 people have now been arrested, according to Associated Press, after Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked them to stop the protests. 

However, Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan's Federal Minister for information and Broadcasting, wrote on twitter: "Khadim Hussain Rizvi has been taken into protective custody by police and shifted to a guest house.

"They insisted to come to Rwp (Rawalpindi - a city in Punjab) refusing Governments [sic] proposal for alternative arrangements. It’s to safeguard public life, property and order and has to do nothing with Asia Bibi case"

On Friday night there were raids on buildings. 

The TLP want Bibi to be publicly hanged, while the party's founder, Mohammad Afzal Qadri, has called for the death of the three Supreme Court judges who let her go. 

Asia Bibi has now been offered asylum by Canada, France, Spain and Australia. 

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