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Pakistan bars Bibi from leaving amid acquittal protests

By
Sommer Brokaw
Protests against the Pakistan Supreme Court's Wednesday acquittal of Asia Bibi, who had been on death row for a 2010 blasphemy conviction, continued Friday in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo by Bilawal Arbab/ EPA-EFE
Protests against the Pakistan Supreme Court's Wednesday acquittal of Asia Bibi, who had been on death row for a 2010 blasphemy conviction, continued Friday in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo by Bilawal Arbab/ EPA-EFE

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Pakistan's government has barred Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, from leaving the country in a concession to protesters of her acquittal.

The agreement reached Friday night also allows further appeals. The government has also said it would release all protesters who have been arrested since Pakistan's high court acquitted her on Wednesday.

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Bibi, a mother of five in her early 50s, had been on death row for eight years on a blasphemy conviction after drinking from the same cup that a Muslim drank from, sparking false claims that she insulted the prophet Muhammad.

Though the legal win was applauded by human rights groups, Bibi's lawyers now fear for her safety since she isn't allowed to leave the country and extremists in the anti-blasphemy group, Teherrek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, have called for her execution.

Ben-Her Gill, a Christian community leader in Islamabad, said Bibi was in a secret location in Pakistan under protection of the authorities.

Protesters had blocked highways, slowed down rail networks, and forced school and business closings as mobile networks were also suspended in Islamabad and other major cities in Pakistan.

While the protests against Bibi's acquittal took place Friday, Maulana Samiul Haq, considered the "father of the Taliban" was stabbed to death in his home in Pakistan.

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