Pakistani Muslims say Christian mother should not be pardoned


Hundreds of hardline Muslim demonstrators have been protesting in Pakistan, threatening anarchy if a Christian mother is pardoned.  Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy earlier this month, for defaming the Prophet Mohammed.


Demonstrators marched in the eastern city of Lahore after the most influential Sunni Muslim alliance in Pakistan urged the government not to grant the mother-of-five clemency.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

A crowd of several hundred called for jihad  and pledged to sacrifice their lives to protect the honour of the Prophet Mohammad.

The rally was organised by a subsidiary of a banned charity which the United Nations has blacklisted as a terrorist organisation.

Minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti presented a clemency plea to the government late Thursday on the grounds that the case against Bibi was based only on personal enmity.

Pope Benedict XVI has also called for Bibi's release and said Christians in Pakistan are "often victims of violence and discrimination".

Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women labourers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields.

Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed, and she was arrested, and sentenced to death earlier this month.


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