A Christian woman who won her final battle against a long-running blasphemy conviction faces a race against time to flee Pakistan from powerful Islamist hardliners who want her dead.
Asia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 and was on death row for eight years until her acquittal last year.
Yesterday the Supreme Court threw out a petition seeking a final appeal in the case against her acquittal.
But she faces a perilous 48 hours as a secret operation gets under way to spirit her out of Pakistan as furious extremists immediately called for nationwide rallies which threaten to spiral into civil unrest.
A source close to Mrs Bibi told the Mail: ‘The fact is, she is not safe until she gets out of Pakistan.
‘There is huge corruption there, within the government, within the military, and there are powerful people who want her dead. She does not know who to trust.
‘The next 48 hours are going to be critical. If the Islamists whip up a storm and block the roads to the airport, it is going to be hard for her to leave.
‘We are really worried. Yes, she is grateful to all the people who have helped her, and to the court’s decision, and yes of course she is looking forward to hugging her children and being free.
‘But right now, she isn’t, and it would not be correct to say she is feeling intense happiness. She is just very anxious and hoping and praying it all works out.’