Pakistan must allow Asia Bibi to migrate and stop misuse of blasphemy laws, says Christian legal group

ReutersProtesters chant slogans after the acquittal of Asia Bibi. The banners read, 'Ready to sacrifice our lives for Mohammad.'

A Christian legal support group is fearing the worst for the future of believers in Pakistan after the horrific treatment of Asia Bibi. 

The Christian mother-of-five remains in hiding due to threats against her life after being acquitted of blasphemy charges and released from death row last month. 

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS-UK) said that Pakistan needed to allow Bibi and her family to safely migrate in light of reports that she is being hunted down by hardliners. 

The group said that Bibi would 'never be safe in Pakistan' despite being acquitted of all charges and that she needed a 'fresh start' in another country. 

It also voiced fears that instead of challenging the blasphemy laws, the Pakistani government appeared to be entrenching them further and that the future did not bode well for the country's minority Christian community. 

'The situation for Christians and other religious minorities has become even more precarious as governments and politicians are hesitant and lack the will to discuss this matter in parliament because of the threats from the hardliners,' said director Nasir Saeed.

'This is a huge setback for Christians and other minorities who see no future in Pakistan if this law is not amended accordingly.' 

Despite appeals for asylum from the UK, US and Canada, no country has confirmed an offer to date. 

The UK Government has faced accusations that it is not doing enough to support Bibi, something it denies.  Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that speaking in detail about her case could put her at risk.

'Our primary concern is for the safety and security of Asia Bibi and her family, and we welcome a swift resolution to the situation. A number of countries are in discussions about providing a safe destination once the legal process is complete, and it would not be right for me to comment further at this stage,' he told MPs.

He added: 'It is not appropriate for me to talk about a particular case, especially if there is a risk that it might put the individual or their family in some kind of further risk, but I assure him that my first concern is the safety of Asia and her family. We are working with a number of countries and I will do anything I can to keep her safe.'

Mr Saeed said that any international aid and trade deals with Pakistan needed to take its track record on human rights into consideration.

'The Pakistani government also has a responsibility to ensure extremists do not simply get away with their hate crimes against minorities,' he said. 

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