Blasphemy woman Asia Bibi's husband begs Britain for help

Asia Bibi

In an interview with The Times Ashiq Masih, who is in hiding with his wife Asia Bibi, pleaded for Theresa May to intervene and help the family "escape from Pakistan" as radical Islamists across the country protest to demand that she be hanged.

The government reached a deal Friday to end the protests by agreeing to a travel ban preventing Bibi from leaving the country, and saying it would not object to hardline movements appealing the verdict.

Saif-ul-Mulook's latest victory saw the freeing of Asia Bibi, who spent almost a decade on death row, after the Supreme Court overturned her sentence on Wednesday.

"I also request the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to help us, I also request the Prime Minister of Canada", he said, while also asking for help on behalf of his brother Jospeh Nadeem who has assisted with Ms Bibi's case.

Rights groups have called for Bibi's release and criticized the blasphemy law, saying it has been used to settle scores or abuse religious minorities.

The federal and Punjab governments had entered into negotiations with the TLP leaders and ulema in Lahore to resolve the issue amicably, but there was no success despite several rounds of talks.

"If Asia Bibi leaves the country, every family member, every person associated to her, will be killed", he said. Malook told The Associated Press earlier this week that he would have to leave Pakistan because the followers of hard-line cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi had threatened to kill him as well as the judges who acquitted Bibi.

The case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, where Islamist parties such as the TLP have framed Bibi's release as Pakistan's government caving into Western demands. They still haven't seen their mother.

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As part of the reported agreement, the Pakistani government is also expected to release anyone who was arrested during the four days of protests, and the TLP will apologize to anyone "inconvenienced" by the demonstrations.

Masih's appeal came a day after Bibi's lawyer fled Pakistan on Saturday, also citing threats to his life. "The family is totally shattered", he said.

The case began in June 2009 when Bibi was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields.

However, she still tries to look at the positive side of all this matter.

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The women accused her of having insulted Islam's Prophet Muhammad during the altercation, a charge Bibi has consistently denied.

Referring to an apprehension that Aasia Bibi has been sent overseas, Mr Qadri said that "a war would immediately begin in the country and there (would be) a call for a revolution".

But information minister Fawad Chaudhry insisted the government was not ignoring the actions of the Islamists.

"No one should have this wrong impression that the state will ignore this behaviour", he told reporters on Sunday.

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