01:59 GMT +319 November 2018
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    The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura located in Pakistan's Punjab Province (File)

    Christian Pakistani Woman Seeks UK Asylum After 'Blasphemy' Acquittal

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    In a story, which has been unfolding since Asia Bibi’s controversial arrest in 2009, after she had a drop of water from a Muslim’s bottle, there’s been a major development: Bibi has been granted an acquittal, yet little has changed in the public approach to her “blasphemy charges.”

    The husband of a Christian Pakistani woman, mother of five, who was initially sentenced to death by the country’s court for blasphemy has asked UK Prime Minister Theresa may to grant them asylum and essentially, “freedom,” he said in Punjabi in released footage.

    He, separately, requested asylum from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump.

    Asia Bibi was ultimately acquitted on Wednesday of a conviction that she insulted Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, which put her on death row back in 2010. However, it didn’t effectively stop public calls for her death, as well as massive Islamist street protests by “hundreds of thousands of rioting people,” according to Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, who has also launched a petition calling for western authorities to grant Bibi’s family freedom and asylum.

    "The fact no offer has manifested is shocking,” he told the media.

    The official request for asylum presupposes that the family first flees Pakistan and subsequently applies for refugee status, but the Pakistani government concluded a deal with Islamists amid Bibi’s recent court hearings to restrict her and her family’s travel while the case is reviewed. 

    The move has been deemed as an imminent threat to her life, since “it’s clear that Ms. Bibi and other religious minorities, are in grave danger and prime minister Imran Khan needs to decide if he believes in the rule of law or the rule of the mob,” Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the UK’s foreign affairs select committee, stated, adding he had asked the Home Office for an "urgent evaluation of the situation", The Guardian reported.

    Theresa May previously called for the global abolishment of the death penalty when the case of Ms. Bibi made headlines back in 2009. Back then, she was arrested on accusations of insulting Islam's major prophet during an argument with fellow farm workers and received a death sentence for blasphemy, which was subsequently appealed and reviewed.

    The charge dates back to a hot day in 2009 when Asia Bibi, a 47-year-old Christian, sipped from a Muslim woman’s water bottle.

    Accusations of blasphemy and fabricated evidence to this end are more than common in largely Muslim Pakistan.

    In 2013, Academic and Fulbright Scholar Junaid Hafeez was arrested for blasphemy based on possibly doctored printouts of materials that had been attributed to him. Despite his guilt never being proven in court, he still languishes in jail.

    READ MORE: Islamic Party Causes Traffic Havoc as Christian Woman Freed in Pakistan (VIDEO)

    In 2011, Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, an Indian state bordering Pakistan, was shot dead by his own bodyguard after he lobbied for Asia Bibi to receive a presidential pardon and advocated for updates to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

    Earlier, in 2010, two Christian brothers were shot dead outside a Pakistani courthouse after rumors spread that the police were about to clear them of blasphemy charges.

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    acquittal, court case, Christianity, Christians, radicals, Islamist, protests, court, conviction, Muslim, Asia Bibi, India, Pakistan
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