Islamabad: Radical Islamist groups protested on Wednesday in a number of Pakistan cities against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the death sentence of Christian woman Asia Bibi, who had been convicted in 2010 of blasphemy. The top court acquitted Asia Bibi, a mother of five from Pakistan’s Punjab province, earlier in the day and overturned her death sentence, Geo News reported. She was accused in 2009 of defiling the name of Prophet Muhammed during an argument with her neighbours.
Bibi maintained her innocence, but spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement. The landmark ruling set off violent protests by hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws. Demonstrations against the verdict were being held in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan. Clashes with the police were also reported, the BBC said. “The protest for the sanctity of the Prophet has started. We will die (for the sanctity).
We are not going to step back,” radical Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which had threatened the judges with dire consequences if Asia Bibi was acquitted, said in a statement. Meanwhile, talking tough, PM Imran Khan told hardliners not to “confront the State” and refrain from vandalism.