Pakistan’s Supreme Court upholds Asia Bibi’s acquittal
THE FIRST time Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered Asia Bibi released, in October, the country erupted in protest. The Christian woman had been sentenced to death for blasphemy in the lower courts after being accused by Muslim neighbours of insulting the prophet Muhammad after they balked at sharing a jug of water with an infidel. Zealots from a group called Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan took to the streets, demanding Ms Asia’s execution no matter what the courts said. The government, intimidated by the protests, agreed to keep Ms Asia in the country while the TLP requested a review of the ruling. But when the court rejected that request this week, upholding her acquittal, the government was better prepared. The leader of the TLP, Khadim Rizvi, has been under arrest since November. Some 3,000 other TLP activists have also been detained. Unsurprisingly, the protests that greeted the new ruling have been muted.
This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline “Religion in Pakistan”