Islamist radicals defy Imran, choke Pakistan over blasphemy acquittal

Asia Bibi's conviction was quashed at the Supreme Court

The landmark ruling sparked protests by hard-line Islamists and raised fears of violence.

Hafiz Saeed urged followers to hold rallies across Pakistan on Friday to condemn Bibi's release.

"I can't believe what I am hearing, will I go out now?"

In response to the ruling, members of the Pakistani radical Islamic Party staged violent protests outside the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.

"I think they may placate the fanatics for a little while", he says, "just to give them time to get Asia out of the country".

"They are not serving Islam, but trying to increase their vote bank", Khan said of the clerics. Numerous nation's poor choose to send their children to Islamic schools that teach hardline political Islamism, a better option than no school at all, they argue.

Several Islamist parties rejected the verdict. She was set free after the apex court found that the evidence against her was insufficient.

Blasphemy is a massively inflammatory charge in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam and its Prophet Mohammed can provoke death at the hands of vigilantes.

Now, apparently, rumors are circulating that Asia Bibi has been put on ECL... Security was beefed up for the judges following the announcement.

The protesting groups led by the TLP continued their protests for a third consecutive day on Friday, blocking roads in several cities and towns of the country.

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Flash mobs blocked traffic and had altercations with the police. The protesters clashed with the police and damaged nearby properties.

The prospect of Ms. Bibi being allowed to leave Pakistan was unacceptable to the TLP's political chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

The Christian Post reports that Qadri called that anyone who has "access" to the three justices should "kill them before the evening". The group also demanded the ouster of the newly elected government of Imran Khan.

Knots of protesters from TLP blocked roughly 10 roads in the southern city of Karachi and others in eastern Lahore, Goer TV and other channels said.

Bibi, who had been held in solitary confinement, remained Wednesday in a jail in Rawalpindi as officials awaited court orders.

However, a row broke out between Ms Bibi and the co-workers who insisted they could not touch the cup after she had drunk from it as the Christian faith is unclean.

Insulting Muhammad is a risky business these days. In 2010, a trial court convicted and sentenced her to death.

But according to Pakistani law, the grounds for review petitions are extremely narrow and such appeals are seldom upheld, meaning the court's acquittal of Bibi is likely to stand. We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice.

Many of those accused of blasphemy are murdered, and advocates of changing the law are also targeted by violence.

A month after Taseer was killed, Pakistan's religious minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who spoke out against the blasphemy law, was shot dead in Islamabad. A third brother, who also faced blasphemy accusations, now lives in Malaysia but hopes to move to Canada.

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