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Pakistan News Alert

Pakistan: Protests possible following the release of Asia Bibi /update 10

Asia Bibi, recently acquitted in a blasphemy case, released from jail November 8; nationwide protests possible in coming days

08 Nov 01:24 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 11/8/2018, 12:00 AM until 11/15/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Karachi). COUNTRY/REGION Pakistan
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Event

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges, was released from jail around midnight (local time) November 7-8. Pakistani authorities have publicly stated that Bibi remains in Pakistan, under protective custody in Islamabad; however, there are unofficial reports saying she was flown abroad.

A resumption of protests, which shut down major cities and transportation routes across the nation October 31-November 3, is possible in the coming days. As of November 8, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) hardliner party has not called for any specific protests. If protests do take place, an increased security presence, transportation disruptions, clashes with security forces, and vandalism are likely.

Context

Mass demonstrations broke out on October 31 after the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi, resulting in clashes with security forces, roadblocks, and rail and flight disruptions across the country. TLP leaders, who were instrumental in provoking the unrest, agreed to end mass protests on November 3, after an agreement was reached with the government.

For the time being, Bibi cannot be put on an Exit Control List (ECL), as the TLP requested, as the lasted verdict did not find her guilty. This may further elicit unrest.

Advice

Individuals in Pakistan are advised to closely monitor developments, avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and refrain from discussing sensitive religious and political topics in public.

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