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Pak govt to talk to protestors upset over Asia Bibi’s SC decision of ‘no death’

Islamabad, Nov 1 (UNI) The Pakistan government on Thursday decided to hold talks with the protesters holding sit-ins across the country against the acquittal of Asia Bibi.

A five-member committee comprising ministers Fawad Chaudhry, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shyeryar Afridi, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and Mehboob Sultan has been constituted to defuse tension a day after after Prime Minister Imran Khan warned protesters that his government would not tolerate any prolonged blockade.

The opposition has also criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation in which he said the government cannot be pushed around on the issue.

“We will not allow any damages. We will not allow traffic to be blocked,” Khan said in a televised address on Wednesday.

“I appeal to you, do not push the state to the extent that it is forced to take action.”

The government decision to hold talks came after opposition parties called his speech “aggressive”.

Asia Bibi, who had spent eight years in solitary confinement, still faces death threats from fundamentalists as violent protests have started growing across the country.

This case also highlighted two issues with the draconian blasphemy laws in Pakistan, one is how allegations can be used to settle personal scores and secondly lower-court judges are unable to acquit innocent defendants for fear of their own lives.

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