Islamabad, Publish Date: Nov 8 2018 10:03AM | Updated Date: Nov 8 2018 10:03AM
A Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row has been freed from prison, her lawyer said.
Some reports say Asia Bibi has boarded a plane but its destination was not known, BBC reported on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court ruling sparked protests from hardliners and the government had said it would bar her from leaving Pakistan.
Her husband had said they were in danger and pleaded for asylum.
Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five, was released from prison in the city of Multan, her lawyer Saif Mulook said.
Also known as Asia Noreen, she was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during a row with neighbours.
Several countries have offered her asylum.
The Pakistani government has said it will start legal proceedings to prevent her going abroad after agreeing the measure to end the violent protests.
Many of the protesters were hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws and called for Asia Bibi to be hanged.
One leader said all three Supreme Court judges also “deserved to be killed”.
A spokesman for the hardline Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) party said Asia Bibi’s release was in breach of their deal with the government.
“The rulers have showed their dishonesty,” TLP spokesman Ejaz Ashrafi said.
The deal also saw officials agree not to block a petition for the Supreme Court to evaluate Asia Bibi’s acquittal in the light of Islamic Sharia law.
The trial stems from an argument Asia Bibi had with a group of women in June 2009.
They were harvesting fruit when a row broke out about a bucket of water. The women said that because she had used a cup, they could no longer touch it, as her faith had made it unclean.
Prosecutors alleged that in the row which followed, the women said Asia Bibi should convert to Islam and that she made offensive comments about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in response.
She was later beaten up at her home, during which her accusers say she confessed to blasphemy. She was arrested after a police investigation.
Acquitting her, the Supreme Court said that the case was based on unreliable evidence and her confession was delivered in front of a crowd “threatening to kill her”.