Canada in talks with Pakistan over possibly taking in Asia Bibi

Pakistan       by Haider Ali | Published

Mother-of-five Asia Bibi, 53, is in hiding after Pakistan's supreme court acquitted her almost two weeks ago.

In a deal with the hard-line Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party that ended the protests, the Pakistani government on November 3 indicated that it will bar Bibi from traveling overseas pending a "review" of the Supreme Court's decision.

A mob accused her a few days later of insulting Muhammad, which led to her 2010 conviction.

After SC's October 31 judgement that acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case, TLP launched a countrywide protest, bringing several cities to a standstill for almost three days. The charge also carries the death penalty and critics say the controversial blasphemy law is abused to settle religious scores.

Pakistani government officials have said Bibi is in a secure location while the court considers her case. The lawmaker's constituency is in a deeply conservative region in the country's northwestern.

"People can even be killed because of such fake postings", Mr Chaudhry said.


Bibi's conviction stemmed from a 2009 incident when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. An argument took place after two Muslim women refused to drink from the same container as Bibi, who is Roman Catholic. Her lawyer, Saiful Malook, has been granted temporary asylum in the Netherlands after facing death threats. In 2011, the governor of Punjab province was killed by his own guard after he defended Bibi and criticized the blasphemy law.

Not long after, Pakistan's minister for minority affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, was shot dead for making similar remarks.

Last week, the Netherlands said its ambassador Ardi Stoios-Braken has faced "threats" in Pakistan, apparently over "blasphemous depictions" by Wilders on Twitter.

According to a statement issued Wednesday night, the Chief Justice said that the properties of people were damaged during the three-day protests after the Supreme Court's decision.

Bibi's case is supported by the Vatican, while Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini recently suggested that Rome was working "discretely" with other Western countries on her case.

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