Extremists threaten to bring Pakistan to a standstill if Christian mother Asia Bibi is freed

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

Supporters of a radical Islamic political party in Pakistan are threatening to paralyse the country if Asia Bibi is freed from death row.

Bibi, a Christian mother of five, is facing execution after being found guilty of blasphemy in 2010 following a complaint from Muslim colleagues on the farm where she worked.

The Pakistan Supreme Court reached a verdict on the appeal against her death sentence last week but decided to delay making their decision public.

The leader of radical party Tahreek-e-Labbai (TLP), Pir Afzal Qadri has called for nationwide protests against Bibi being freed.

Qadri called on supporters to protest her release 'even if the central leadership is incarcerated or killed'.

While blasphemy is a crime punishable by death in Pakistan, until now, those found guilty have been acquitted.

If the death sentence against Bibi is upheld and carried out, she would be the first person in Pakistan to be executed for the crime.

TLP has reportedly called for Bibi to be hanged and according to Channel News Asia, it warned in a press conference on YouTube that the justices would meet a 'horrible end' if they free her.

'Judges' remarks have sown doubt among the party leaders and fears that she would be released soon,' Qadri was quoted as saying at an anti-Bibi rally in Lahore as he called for sit-ins to take place across Pakistan.

Bibi's husband recently visited the UK to raise awareness of her case. During the visit he asked Christians to pray for her.

'She told [me] that the community must remember her in their prayers because this is an international country... [I] need international pressure for the release of Asia Bibi,' Ashiq Bibi told Premier.

Open Doors said that if Bibi's death sentence is upheld, her only option will be to appeal for mercy from President Arif Alvi, who is a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

Khan has already spoken in favour of the blasphemy law in light of the Bibi case. 

According to the advocacy group, Khan previously stated: 'I know this law is an inconvenience for some people like that poor woman Asia Bibi. But it is a law that is complete and I support it.'

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