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Pakistan: Mass Rally over Asia Bibi’s Acquittal

Sunday 25 November 2018

ISLAMABAD (Ruptly) — Thousands of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) members and supporters flooded the streets of Sukkur on Sunday, condemning the Supreme Court’s recent acquittal and subsequent release of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

MMA president Fazal-ur-Rehman attended the mass rally and addressed the protesters from a makeshift stage. “We will not allow you [Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan] to govern Pakistan like this”, said Fazal-ur-Rehman who said that Asia Bibi’s acquittal had far-reaching implications for the Pakistan society.

Over the weekend, a key figure in organising Pakistan’s recent protests and leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik political party Khadim Hussain Rizvi and thousands of his supporters were arrested.

Asia Noreen, better known as Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death by hanging in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during a dispute with co-workers. The dispute arose after she was reprimanded for drinking water from her neighbours’ glass because she is not a Muslim, reports say. Bibi has denied the allegations, but has spent most of the last eight years in solitary confinement. However, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned her conviction in October, citing flimsy evidence.

SOT, Fazal-ur-Rehman, President of MMA (Urdu):

These tricks will not work. We will not allow you [Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan] to govern Pakistan like this. This is the issue, this is not only the issue of Asia [Bibi], this is the issue of the sovereignty of this country, the issue is the ideological and religious identity of this country, the issue is over this nation’s Republic and economic independence and defence independence. The real independence will be at the time when we will be able to decide on our matters ourselves as an independent nation.

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