The lawyer who rescued the Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi from a hang-up for blasphemy, Saif-ul-Mulook, left the country on Saturday, saying she feared for her life after threats from radical Islamists.
Mr. Mulook was the defender of Ms. Bibi in the case that led him to spend nearly ten years on death row before being acquitted on Wednesday by a verdict of the Supreme Court which provoked the fury of extremist circles Muslims.
They took to the streets, paralyzing a large part of the country for three days, before an agreement is concluded between Friday night and Saturday between the authorities and protesters.
“In the current scenario, it is not possible for me to live in Pakistan,” said the lawyer to AFP before boarding a plane early Saturday.
“I need to stay alive because I have to continue the legal battle for Asia Bibi,” said the sexagenarian, who was granted no close protection after the verdict in favor of his client.
The violent reaction of the extremists to the judgment was “unhappy but not unexpected”.
“I was expecting it, but what is painful is the government’s response: they can not even (apply) a ruling from the highest court in the country,” he lamented.
After three days of chaos in the country, protesters and the government said they reached an agreement late Friday.
The five-point text provides, inter alia, that the Government does not oppose the filing of an application for review of the Supreme Court’s judgment and that it will initiate a procedure to prohibit Ms. Bibi from leaving the country.
According to Mr. Mulook, this means that Ms. Bibi will have to remain in jail or some other safe place until the motion is reviewed. “His life would be more or less the same, whether inside a prison or out of isolation because of security fears,” he said.
Asia Bibi whose red-barred portrait he waved on November 2, 2018 in Islamabad
The government was strongly criticized Saturday for this agreement, described as “new surrender”.
“One more government has capitulated to violent religious extremists who do not believe in democracy or the Constitution,” the daily Dawn said Saturday in its editorial.
It seems that the speech of firmness with regard to the Islamists pronounced Wednesday evening by the Prime Minister Imran Khan “is already condemned to the dustbin of the History”, concludes the newspaper.