Rawalpindi, Pakistan (CNN)It is a chilly winter's morning and a weak blue fog has settled over Rawalpindi as we arrive at the city's St. Joseph's Cathedral. A security guard, wrapped in navy shawls and a purple balaclava ushers us in, where the grounds lay deserted and still. A sense of unease is palpable among the tiny stream of early morning worshipers walking in.
Under the shadow of Asia Bibi; Life as a Christian in Pakistan
It's been 10 days since Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman, was acquitted on charges of blasphemy by Pakistan's Supreme Court on the October 31.
Bibi, a mother of five from Punjab province was sentenced in 2010 after she was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Muhammad during an argument a year earlier with Muslim women over drinking water. She was handed a death sentence and was on death row for nearly eight years before her acquittal.
The country's strict blasphemy laws are a topic of great sensitivity in Pakistan; accusations of blasphemy have seen a surge in mob violence and lynchings in pockets of the country.
The supreme court's judgment was lauded by liberal activists and lawyers across the country with Amnesty International calling for a "clear message" to go out that "blasphemy laws will no longer be used to persecute Pakistan's long-suffering religious minorities."
Still, the acquittal saw thousands of protesters take to the streets in anger at the Supreme Court's decision. Demonstrators called for Bibi to be hanged, and attacked the judges, the media, the army and any man or woman who dared defend her case
An agreement has been reached between the government and the protesters following a lockdown of three days, but a bitter feeling of anxiety remains in the air.
Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a right-wing Islamist group, also only agreed to call off the protests on the condition that it would not prevent the group from handing in a petition to the Supreme Court to place Bibi on the country's exit control list.
If approved it would mean that Bibi would not be permitted to leave the country. Her whereabouts are currently unknown, as she has been moved from her jail to an undisclosed location.
While speculation is rife about the safety of Bibi and her family, there are larger conversations at stake regarding the protection of Pakistan's tiny Christian minority.
At the Cathedral in Pakistan's garrison town of Rawalpindi, CNN is asked to visit in the early hours of the day to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to the site. Mothers shuffling in to drop off their kids at the neighboring convent avoid our gaze, looking away when we ask them about Asia Bibi's case.
"Please don't name us," one says. "But we are Christians and if Muslims aren't safe from these conversations then we are nothing to these people, we respect the judgment of the Supreme Court and that is paramount, I just want this situation to go away and for this tension to be lifted from our shoulders."
One of the elder Christian gatekeepers at St Joseph's tells CNN that he is "grateful for the presence of the military close to the church." However, he notes that the sense of fear has "begun to haunt him" since the capital went into lockdown after the acquittal.
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