Islamists prevent departure of acquitted Christian woman from Pakistan
Pakistan's legal system subdued by Islamist mob (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was recently acquitted of blasphemy by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, should be granted freedom of movement and be allowed to leave the country. Further, the human rights organization criticized a deal that was negotiated between Pakistan's government and Islamist groups on Friday evening – as an attempt to put an end to the protests over the acquittal, which have been going on for three days. The five-point agreement provides that a request for review against the acquittal will be allowed, and that the court will decide over a possible travel ban on Asia Bibi.
"Pakistan's legal system is being subdued by the Islamist mob. The principles of separation of powers and the priority of law are being ignored. The Supreme Court has issued a judgement, and the government must not allow the radical Islamists to undermine this ruling. The scandalous deal is undermining Pakistan's legal system and constitutional order," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Saturday.
Pakistan's government hopes that the controversial agreement with the radical Islamist party Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan will put an end to the Islamist protests, due to which public life has come to a standstill in the country – especially in the industrial metropolis Karachi.
"The fact that the constitutional state of Pakistan is giving in to pressure by the Islamist movement can be seen as a declaration of bankruptcy," Delius criticized. Thus, the human rights organization warns that religious minorities will no longer be able to rely on the state when it comes to protecting their human rights – with consequences far beyond the case of Asia Bibi. After Prime Minister Imran Khan had publicly promised to respect and enforce the Supreme Court's ruling, many Christians, Ahmadiyyah Muslims, and Hindus had renewed hope that their religious freedom would be respected. "By giving in to the Islamist mob, Pakistan's government has shattered hopes for more religious freedom in the country," Delius emphasized.
Header picture: Cahaya Maulidian via Wikimedia Commons