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Aasia’s security enhanced

LAHORE: The Punjab government has increased the security of Aasia, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010, in a Sheikhupura jail after the provincial authorities came to know that a Peshawar-based cleric has announced Rs30 million cash ‘reward’ for her killer.

The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi

The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura, November 13, 2010. — Photo by Reuters

“Maulana Muhammad Yousuf announced soon after Governor Salmaan Taseer’s meeting with Aasia in the Sheikhupura jail that he would pay Rs30 million to the person who would kill the Christian woman. In view of this threat, the government has directed the jail superintendent and the district police officer to protect Aasia by all means,” Christians’ representative Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra told Dawn on Thursday.

He said Christians feared that Aasia would be killed in jail like blasphemy accused Robert Fonish, who was killed in a Sialkot jail about two years ago. He said Christians believed the PML-N would not protect minorities in Punjab.

“Many religious extremists are activists of the PML-N, therefore, we fear the Punjab government will get Aasia killed in jail through these activists,” Sahotra said.

He condemned the assassination of Taseer and blamed it on religious extremism.

Punjab government spokesman Pervaiz Rashid was not available for comments.

Home Secretary Shahid Khan said: “We are conscious of the situation and providing Aasia the required security.” — DAWN

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