Jeremy Hunt 'very encouraged' by Asia Bibi's acquittal

The Foreign Secretary has told Premier the UK Government is 'very encouraged' by the decision by a court in Pakistan yesterday to uphold the acquittal of Asia Bibi.

Jeremy Hunt said Supreme Court justices were "standing up for religious freedom" in blocking a proposed legal challenge against the Christian women's release last October.

Speaking at a press conference at the Foreign Office on Wednesday, he said: "We are obviously very encouraged by what happened.


"We should not underestimate the challenges for a country like Pakistan which has got huge pressures in standing up for religious freedom in the way that the Supreme Court has done.

Asia Bibi spent eight years on death row because the court in Islamabad overturned her conviction for blasphemy.



The decision proved to be deeply controversial among hard-line Islamists who wanted the mother-of-five to be publicly hanged.

She always denied the allegation she had insulted the Islamic prophet Muhammad following a disagreement with a group of Muslim women over the use of a water cup.

Mr Hunt continued: "Our priority throughout has being the safety of Asia Bibi and her family.


"We have done a huge amount of work behind the scenes, working with other countries as well. And we're still very hopeful of a good outcome.

"But I think it's also very important to remember that this happens to be the case that has caught the public eye.


"There are thousands of other Asia Bibi's that we don't know about with much less positive outcomes, and that's why this review is so important."

It is anticipated Ms Bibi will leave Pakistan. Another of countries have signalled a willingness to offer her asylum.

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