PARIS: The Pakistani lawyer who secured the acquittal of a Christian woman facing the death sentence for blasphemy is himself seeking protection from European governments, his French lawyer said on Friday.
Saif-ul-Mulook has been targeted by death threats since the spectacular acquittal of his client Aasia Bibi, on death row since 2010.
“He is hoping that people will take into account his heroic actions in defending Aasia Bibi, given the current circumstances in Pakistan, which led him to exchange his freedom for hers,” Mulook’s lawyer Francois Zimeray said.
“He does not want to seek asylum, but rather to ask for European nationality,” Zimeray said.
Mulook fled to the Netherlands last November after violent protests erupted over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Aasia Bibi’s death sentence.
He returned to Islamabad on January 26 to defend Aasia Bibi as she faced another appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision, which was rejected on Tuesday.
Aasia Bibi, who has been detained in protective custody, is expected to leave Pakistan as well to seek asylum in a North American or European country, and unconfirmed reports have said her children are already in Canada.
The foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday that Aasia Bibi was free to leave the country after her years-long legal ordeal, which drew worldwide attention to religious extremism in Pakistan.
Even unproven accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan have caused lynching and murders.
Religious groups have said “they would kill her despite the judgement of the Supreme Court,” Mulook said after the court’s decision on Tuesday. “Therefore, I think she should leave the country.
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2019
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