Protests broke out in Pakistan on Wednesday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Asia Bibi’s death sentence in a blasphemy trial. Thousands have taken to the streets of major cities to protest the decision.

Blasphemy is a very controversial topic in Pakistan, and multiple people have been killed by vigilantes in recent years following an accusation. There are concerns the protests will continue and that violence could occur. Western individuals and organisations could be targeted. We have put together advice and resources below. 

Bibi is a Christian and she had been on death row since 2010. She has been accused of blasphemy after arguing with three Muslim women who did not want to share a water glass with her while working in a field near Lahore. It is expected that she and her family will have to leave Pakistan for their safety.

Travel advice

  • You should avoid demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events.
  • Review your travel risk management plan, so you know what to do in an emergency.
  • Make sure you have the contact information of your travel insurance company and your local embassy stored in a secure offline location.
  • Monitor local media.
  • Keep your devices charged.
  • Check in with friends and family.
  • If something does happen, contact the local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so.

Official travel advice

From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Latest update: Summary – A number of religious groups have announced that they will stage protests across the country, starting on Wednesday 31 October, in response to a Supreme Court verdict in a blasphemy case. Protests can occur with little warning and can turn violent quickly. You should avoid demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events.

from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/pakistan

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