World

Fake images of woman acquitted of blasphemy roil Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani government, already struggling with a crisis surrounding a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy charges after eight years on death row, now has to deal with ‘‘fake’’ images on social media purporting to show her outside the country.

The deceptive images have prompted death threats to a lawmaker shown in one photograph, and are likely intended to whip up radical religious fervor over Aasia Bibi’s case.

Radical Islamists have held mass protests and demanded that she be publicly executed. They’ve also filed a petition to repeal her Supreme Court acquittal. The government says Bibi remains in Pakistan, at a secret location for her own protection, until the review process is finished.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned hard-line groups against using her plight to further their political aims with street protests.

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He has defended the Supreme Court judges who on Oct. 21 acquitted the 54-year old mother of five of blasphemy charges. But he has also acquiesced to demands by the Islamists that the acquittal be reviewed in an appeal process.

Associated Press