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kharmang 3586881 640ROME - Observers who’ve watched the dramatic case of Asia Bibi unfold over the past eight years said that despite some immediate backlash, the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday to acquit the Catholic mother of five of blasphemy charges marks a major step toward making the country a more modern, tolerant nation.

In comments to Crux, Father Bernard Cervellera, head of Asia News, said the decision to acquit Bibi “is something big,” and is proof that there are groups in Pakistan, even among Muslims, “who want a more modern Pakistan, more tied to the origins of this country. It must be a country that allows people to be free to practice their religion more than a state religion.”

Crux - Supporters hail Asia Bibi acquittal as ‘great day’ for religious freedom