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Husband of Christian Woman in Pakistan Blasphemy Case Appeals to West for Asylum

Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, listens to Governor of Pakistani Punjab Province Salman Taseer, unseen, at a prison in Sheikhupura near Lahore, Nov. 20, 2010.

The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted after spending eight years on death row on blasphemy charges is appealing to U.S. President
Donald Trump for refuge, according to Reuters news agency.

In a video recorded by the British Pakistani Christian Association and seen Sunday by Reuters, Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi whose case has outraged Christians worldwide, also appealed to the United Kingdom and Canada for assistance, citing danger to family members' lives.

Reuters said the U.S. Embassy and British and Canadian High Commissions in Islamabad did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the appeal.

Saturday, Attorney Saiful Mulook, who represented Bibi, said he fled Pakistan because he fears for his life after her acquittal earlier this week caused widespread protests by Islamists.

Members of the militant Islamist group Tehreek e-Labbaik ya Rasool Allah, blocked main roads in Pakistan's largest cites for three days, demanding the murder of the Supreme Court judges who acquitted Asia Bibi on Wednesday.

Mulook told Reuters in a WhatsApp message he had gone to another country "just to save (my) life from angry mob" and because of fears for the safety of his family. "I consulted and everybody is of this opinion (that I should leave)."

He added that he would return to the country to continue his work on the case if he was given protection by security forces.

Mulook's departure from Pakistan comes after a Pakistan government team negotiated a deal late Friday with Islamist groups, ending the crippling protests. The government agreed to take “legal measures” to prevent the woman from leaving the country while the court hears a petition against the verdict.

Bibi appealed her 2010 conviction under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.

According to Bibi, she was falsely accused after a heated argument with other women who refused to drink water she had given them because she was Christian.

Other religious groups also held demonstrations Friday, albeit peacefully.

The government banned television coverage of protests linked to the issue and suspended cell phone service in several cities throughout the day to contain the crowds.