In October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence placed on Asia Bibi, a minority Christian woman who was convicted in 2010 of blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code.
Led in part by the extremist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party (TLP), thousands filled the streets in the following days, protesting Bibi’s acquittal. There were calls for Bibi’s death, as well as the deaths of the three judges who acquitted her.
In an attempt to appease the TLP and other hardliners who railed against the ruling, the prime minister’s administration reportedly agreed to look into placing Bibi on the “exit control list” while a petition against the acquittal was reviewed. This would prevent her from leaving Pakistan despite the court’s decision in her favor.
On Tuesday, however, Asia Bibi’s acquittal was upheld by the Pakistani Supreme Court, and she is now free to leave Pakistan. According to the BBC, she “is being kept by authorities at a secret location in Islamabad.” This secrecy will likely continue until such a time that Bibi can leave the country.
The Associated Press writes that Bibi watched the announcement on TV, and is ready to see her daughters, who previously fled to Canada. An anonymous friend relayed the following quote from Bibi: “I am really grateful to everybody. Now after nine years it is confirmed that I am free and I will be going to hug my daughters.” (Read more from “Christian Asia Bibi Free to Leave Pakistan After Spending Nearly a Decade on Death Row Under Blasphemy Charges” HERE)