Pakistan protests over acquitted Christian woman fizzle out

February 1, 2019
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Activists from the Pakistani religious party Sunni Threek protest the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. A radical Islamic party has asked its followers to hold nationwide protests Friday against the Supreme Court's recent decision of acquitting Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight precious years of her life on death row after being convicted in a controversial blasphemy case. Banner reads, "Muslims are disappointed." (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudhry)

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police have fired tear gas and wielded batons to disperse a rally by Islamic radicals in the southern port city of Karachi against the acquittal of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

But despite the Karachi violence, nationwide rallies the extremists had called for on Friday against Aasia Bibi’s freedom mostly fizzled.

Bibi had spent eight years on death row on charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse its Oct. 31 acquittal of Bibi, had called for new rallies after the top court this week threw out its petition.

It had also urged businesses and transport operators to strike but the call was ignored.

There were scatterings of small rallies against Bibi in northwestern Pakistan and the capital, Islamabad.