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"All services have been shut down by the government", said a customer service representative at one of Pakistan's main mobile phone companies, while declining to elaborate.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad in a dispute with her neighbours.

"After nearly 48 hours, we have reached a conclusion following detailed negotiations including both federal and provincial government representatives", Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri told Geo News.

"Well, he should go to the Supreme Court and submit a petition against this court order to discourage those who commit blasphemy".

The Supreme Court's decision in the Asia Bibi case is a small step in the right direction but a long journey awaits Pakistan in reversing the cumulative injustice it has meted out to its religious minorities over the decades.

Bibi's ordeal will continue until the review is completed.

Asia Bibi, a Roman Catholic woman convicted of blasphemy in 2010, is free to leave the prison in Sheikhupura, Pakistan.

In 2009, the farm worker and mother of five from the small town of Itan Wali was arrested for blasphemy over an argument with some Muslim co-workers who allegedly claimed they couldn't drink from a cup of water she had touched, as her Christian faith contaminated it.

Ms Bibi admitted arguing with the women, but always maintained she said nothing blasphemous and was innocent of the charges.

In a document signed by the PTI's religious affairs minister and the TLP's second-in-command, Pir Afzal Qadri, the government promised not to oppose a court petition to reverse Bibi's release.

Increasingly, blasphemy allegations have led to murders and mob lynchings, with at least 74 people killed in such violence since 1990, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

However, over 2,000 demonstrators continued blocking a key road linking the capital, Islamabad, with the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday, causing traffic jams.

After the October 8 panel hearing, thousands of supporters of the Islamist political party Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) rallied in Lahore and other cities demanding Bibi's execution.

Amidst reports of violence, the national media, especially television channels, have gone totally silent about Mr. Bibi's release.

"The party leaders have announced to end protest sit-ins across the country".

The protesters have since demanded a retrial of Bibi under Sharia law.

Interior Minister Sheharyar Afridi said Friday that officials were trying to persuade Islamists to disperse their rallies peacefully.

Dawn's coverage of the ongoing protests suggests that Asia Bibi has become a catalyst for broader concerns among the radical Islamic groups, which photos show appear to be made up exclusively of men.

The case was based on flimsy evidence, they said, and proper procedures had not been followed. Though the family has not disclosed the country of her destination, France and Spain have offered asylum.

"As Prime Minister, Imran Khan says he wants to change Pakistan", said Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman, a protester with the Jammat e-Islami conservative group.

He also called for the ouster of Khan's new government and urged army officers to rise up against powerful military chief General Qamar Bajwa.

Ghulam Mustafa, a lawyer representing a provincial cleric in Punjab who had filed the initial blasphemy charges, asked the supreme court to review her acquittal.


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