Muslim radicals in Pakistan have taken to the streets and are calling for the deaths of the Supreme Court justices responsible for releasing Christian mother Asia Bibi from death row.
Reuters reports that supporters of the Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) have not taken too kindly to the Supreme Court’s announcement Wednesday that it has acquitted Bibi (also known as Aasiya Noreen).
The mother of four has been on death row since 2010, after she was accused by Muslim women with whom she had an argument of blasphemy, and was sentenced to death by hanging.
In Pakistan, blasphemy (insulting Islam or its prophet Muhammad) is a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death. The law is often abused by Muslims looking to settle scores with religious minorities. Bibi has denied the accusations.
In response to the court’s announcement that a three-judge panel reversed earlier court rulings against Bibi on grounds that evidence against her was insufficient, TLP supporters have reportedly staged street protests and have also blockaded major roadways.
According to Reuters, the size of the protests grew and by mid-afternoon, had paralyzed parts of major cities like Islamabad and Lahore.
CNN reports that the demonstrators blocked a roadway in Lahore and forced a major road that links Islamabad and Rawalpindi to be closed off.
At a rally in Lahore, a city about 30 miles from where Bibi grew up and worked as a farmhand, TLP co-founder Muhammad Afzal Qadri is said to have called for the death of Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and the two other justices on the panel.
“They all three deserve to be killed,” Qadri was quoted as saying. “Either their security should kill them, their driver kill them, or their cook kill them.”
Qadri asserted that whoever has “access” to the justices should “kill them before the evening.”
Qadri’s call for the justices to be killed should be taken seriously as there has been a history of violence against politicians who speak against the Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and defend blasphemy victims.
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Source: Christian Post