Asia Bibi's lawyer says there are no grounds for keeping her in jail

The lawyer for Asia Bibi has said he does not believe there are any grounds for a review of her acquittal to take place.

Saif ul-Malook was forced to flee Pakistan after the Supreme Court delivered its 'not guilty' verdict, opening the way for the Christian woman to be released after nine years in jail facing a death sentence.

World Watch MonitorAsia Bibi – also known as Aasiya Noreen – is appealing her death sentence for blasphemy.

However, violent protests by conservative hardliners led to the government agreeing it would not oppose their move to force a review of the decision.

Malook told World Watch Monitor: 'There is no new ground available to challenge the decision.'

He said he would come back to Pakistan to defend her again if the review were allowed, but that he did not believe it would be necessary.

He told AFP that the Pakistan military would need to provide him with security, as 'I need to stay alive to fight her legal case'.

A representative of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party (TLP), Pir Mohammad Afzal Qadri, said of attempts to provide her with sanctuary in a foreign country: 'Western forces are trying to get Asia Bibi out of the country but she should be hanged.'

Her husband Ashiq Masih has requested asylum in the West. He told Deutsche Welle the agreement between the government and the TLP had 'sent shivers down my spine. My family is frightened, my relatives are frightened and my friends are also frightened ... The current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding here and there, frequently changing our location.'

Pakistan's prime minister Imram Khan has faced criticism for surrendering to 'fanatics'. His former wife Jemima Goldsmith has accused his government of 'effectively signing the death warrant' of Asia Bibi after it refused to allow her to leave the country.

Lifestyle