A Pakistani Christian woman was freed from prison just a week after the Supreme Court overturned her conviction and death sentence for blasphemy against Islam. Asia Bibi is currently being held at a secure location to protect against possible attacks. Bibi’s husband pleaded for asylum with several countries offering to grant the request.
Protests continued for a third day in Pakistan on Friday as the ultra-Islamist party blocked roads to demonstrate against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. The political party claims talks with the government have been unsuccessful. Thousands of far-right protesters showed up for the demonstration.
ActionAid charity announced on Thursday that Pakistan ordered 18 international aid agencies to suspend operations and leave the country within 60 days. ActionAid’s Pakistan director said no explanation was provided for the decision. ActionAid was informed it could ‘reapply for registration’ in six months. The decision is Islamabad’s latest move targeting foreign-funded groups.
The US military announced it will cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s failure to take action against militant groups. The decision follows previous accusations by President Trump that Pakistan deceived the US while receiving aid. The funds will be allocated to other ‘urgent priorities.’ The move must be approved by the Congress.
Following Pakistan’s general election on Wednesday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) said it will reject results amid allegations, the military rigged ballots in favor of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Movement for Justice. The delay in announcement of results was due to a breakdown in Results Transmission Software, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Two weeks after a suicide bomber attacked a political rally, killing 151 people, another suicide bomber blew himself up near the car of a candidate on Sunday, killing Ikramullah Gandapur of the Pakistan Justice Movement. The latest attack raises concerns about public safety as elections approach on Wednesday to decide Pakistan’s new prime minister.
The ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam are set to return to Pakistan on Friday despite facing arrest and jail sentences for corruption. Sharif was convicted in an anti-corruption court last week over his family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London. Sharif faces ten years in prison.
Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot and wounded on Sunday at an election rally in an apparent assassination attempt by a gunman linked to a new ultra-religious Muslim party. The shooting comes before nationwide elections which will facilitate Pakistan’s second ever democratic transition. Iqbal’s son said his father is ‘conscious and out of danger.’
The Trump administration announced, Thursday, the suspension of security assistance to Pakistani military until it takes ‘decisive action’ against Taliban and Haqqani militants who have been attacking United States forces in Afghanistan. The suspension will freeze the aid, as officials wait to see if Pakistan takes action. Pakistan responded to the decision, calling it ‘incomprehensible.’
153 men, women, and children in Pakistan were killed on Sunday when the driver of an oil tanker lost control and overturned the truck. The truck exploded into flames while nearby villagers were collecting the spilled fuel. Most of the bodies at the scene were burned beyond recognition and will have to be identified through DNA.