ISLAMABAD: Asia Bibi's lawyer escaped Pakistan on early Saturday as he feared nationwide protests from hundreds of radical Islamist hardliners against the acquittal of the Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was convicted in 2010 after she was accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbors. She always kept her innocence but spent most of the last eight years in solitary confinement.

Her attorney Saiful Malook claimed he had received life-threatening threats from lawyers and that it was difficult for him to practice the prevailing situation, the Express Tribune reported.

However, he made it clear that he would return to Pakistan to represent his client at the hearing of the petition for review if the army gave him security.

"My family is also facing immense security threats and the federal government should give them security," Malook said.

It was not immediately known where he had gone to avoid dangers and how long he would stay there.

Meanwhile, the applicant, Qari Muhammad Saalam, has applied to the Supreme Court for the early hearing of a petition for review against his October 31 Order of Bibi, which was booked in 2009 for blasphemy.

Saalam said Bibi is planning to leave the country and an application has already been filed for her name to be registered on the Exit Control List (ECL).

If this petition for review is not specified, the petition will receive an irreparable loss and injury.

It is known that the petition for review submitted to the Lahore Supreme Court has been transferred to the register of Islamabad, where all the judges are sitting. The request for review was also assigned a number.

The petitioner's legal team expects the petition for review to be ready for next week. However, review requests are rarely given priority.

The petition for review submitted by Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry and Azhar Siddique referred to several "lacunas and de facto legal contradictions".

The petitioner highlighted the "excessive delay, inadequate investigation and other technical aspects" in the review request and asked whether these hurdles should be imposed in the case law.

The petitioner has asked if the country's supreme court has jurisdiction to overturn a particular fact such as Bibi's confession.

He asked whether the Court of Appeal satisfied the relevant standards of case law in terms of history as well as the Islamic provisions and the normal legal principle regarding its application in blasphemy laws.

The ruling of the Supreme Court, which was announced last Wednesday, sparked protests across Pakistan. The demonstrators were led by the Islamic political party Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan and other groups that blocked important highways and roads in various parts of the country.

Educational institutions have been closed in many parts of the country. Many universities in Pakistan announced the cancellation of contributions due to the ongoing tense situation.

Mobile and Internet services remained exposed in major cities.


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