KARACHI -- Pakistan's Supreme Court Wednesday (October 31) overturned the conviction of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother facing execution for blasphemy, in a landmark case.
Unproven allegations of insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Pakistan can provoke death at the hands of vigilantes -- and the acquittal immediately sparked large protests from hardliners.
Bibi appeared to be in a state of disbelief after hearing that Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had quashed her conviction almost eight years after she was first sentenced to death.
"I can't believe what I am hearing; will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?" Bibi told AFP by phone from prison after the ruling.
Demonstrations broke out in major cities across the country following the verdict, with approximately 1,000 club-wielding demonstrators blocking Islamabad's main highway as several roads in the port city of Karachi were barricaded by protesters sparking traffic jams.