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Asia Bibi lawyer vows to keep working in Pakistan despite risks

by Press Association

Saif ul-Malook (pictured above right), who helped get Asia Bibi's conviction overturned, has told lawyers and academics in London that he is involved with another blasphemy case in Pakistan.

He told a seminar chaired by a London-based barrister that no Christian accused of blasphemy could get a fair trial in Pakistan.

Ms Bibi, a Pakistani, was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed after she drank from the same well as Muslim co-workers. She was held for eight years before her conviction was overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court. She now lives in Canada.

Mr ul-Malook, who is also Pakistani, aired his thoughts at a seminar, staged to discuss freedom of religion in Pakistan and chaired by barrister Zimran Samuel, during a visit to London.

He said that when he took up Ms Bibi's case no one would help him because they thought they would not be safe in his company.

"Can a Christian accused of blasphemy get a fair trial in Pakistan?" Mr ul-Malook asked.

"The short answer is 'no'. A big 'no'."

He said no one would sit with him when he was working on Ms Bibi's case and added: "They said, 'he is going to get killed. Why should we sit with him to be killed?'"

Mr ul-Malook was asked why he was continuing to work in Pakistan when his life was at risk.

He said he wanted to keep helping people like Ms Bibi, said he was involved in another case in Pakistan, and added: "I think my life is not all that important."

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