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Hardliners threaten judges as Pakistan awaits blasphemy ruling

AFP  |  Islamabad 

Religious hardliners in Wednesday threatened judges and announced protests as the country awaits a ruling on the fate of a Christian woman who faces becoming the first person to be executed for

Asia Bibi, who has been on death row since 2010, is at the centre of the high-profile case which has divided and drawn prayers from the Vatican. Successive appeals against her conviction have failed.

On Monday the heard her last appeal and said it had reached a judgement, but refused to announce it immediately "for reasons to be recorded later".

On Wednesday Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP), a hardline religious political party -- which had a strong showing in nationwide elections earlier this year -- said in a press conference aired via that if she was freed the justices responsible would meet a "horrible" end.

The group's leaders also called for mass protests on Friday.

TLP, founded in 2015, blockaded the capital for several weeks last year calling for stricter enforcement of Pakistan's controversial laws.

That protest forced the resignation of the and paved the way for the group to poll more than 2.23 million votes in the July 25 general election, in what analysts called a "surprisingly" rapid rise.

Separately on Wednesday, a former for Islamabad's notorious moved to prevent Bibi from leaving the country by petitioning the capital's to put her on the no-fly list.

That case will be heard on Friday.

"Western forces are trying to get out of the country but she should be hanged," the petitioner, Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmed, told AFP.

If the court upholds Bibi's conviction, the only recourse she will have will be a mercy petition to the

Freedom in Pakistan, however, means a life under threat by extremists.

The mere accusation of is so explosive in the conservative Muslim country that anyone even accused of insulting risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 22:35 IST