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Asia Bibi, Christian woman in blasphemy row, leaves Pakistan: Reports

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 08 May 2019, 01:22 PM
Asia Bibi, Christian woman in blasphemy row, leaves Pakistan: Reports
Asia Bibi, Christian woman in blasphemy row, leaves Pakistan: Reports

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who was freed following acquittal in the blasphemy case, has left her country. A CNN report said that she has reached Canada. Bibi, a mother of five from Punjab province, was taken out of the country after repeated death threats from religious extremists in Pakistan. Bibi's case attracted widespread outrage and support from Christians worldwide.

Earlier, the Pakistani lawyer who secured the acquittal of a Christian woman facing the death sentence for blasphemy is himself seeking protection from European governments, his French lawyer told AFP on Friday. Saif-ul-Mulook has been targeted by death threats since his the spectacular acquittal of his client Asia Bibi, a labourer from central Punjab province on death row since 2010.

"He is hoping that people will take into account his heroic actions in defending Ms Bibi, given the current circumstances in Pakistan, which led him to exchange his freedom for hers," Mulook's lawyer Francois Zimeray told AFP.

"He does not want to seek asylum, but rather to ask for European nationality," Zimeray said.

Mulook fled to the Netherlands last November after violent protests erupted over the Pakistani Supreme Court's decision to overturn Bibi's death sentence from 2010.

He returned to Islamabad on January 26 to defend Bibi as she faced another appeal of the supreme court's decision, which was rejected on Tuesday.

Bibi, who was detained in protective custody, was seeking asylum in a North American or European country, and unconfirmed reports have said her children are already in Canada.

The country's foreign ministry had confirmed last month that Bibi was free to leave the country after her years-long legal ordeal, which drew worldwide attention to religious extremism in Pakistan.

Even unproven accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan have caused lynchings and murders.

Religious groups have said "they would kill her despite the judgment of the Supreme Court," Mulook said after the court's decision. "Therefore, I think she should leave the country."   

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Wednesday, May 08, 2019 12:25 PM
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