Aasia Bibi still in Pakistan: Official

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ISLAMABAD: Iftikhar Durrani, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Media, has denied reports that Aasia Bibi has been flown out of Pakistan following her release from Multan jail.

His denial came after BBC reported that Bibi had left for Netherlands shortly after her arrival in Islamabad from Multan.

Durrani said that Bibi was still in Pakistan.

Foreign Office has also dismissed reports that Bibi has left Pakistan.

“Asia Bibi is in Pakistan. There is no truth in reports about Aasia Bibi leaving the country,” Foreign Office spokesman told Geo.

Antonio Tajani, President of the EU Parliament, tweeted Aasia Bibi has been transferred to a safe place in Pakistan. He thanked Pakistani authorities for the Christian woman’s release, saying he looks forward to meeting Bibi and her family in the European Parliament.

Aasia Bibi, a Catholic mother of five, was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan of blasphemy charges last week, a ruling which sparked nationwide protests.

The BBC quoted Aasia Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Mulook as saying that Aasia Bibi had been flown out of Pakistan after she was released from a women’s prison in Multan earlier during the day.

Her lawyer said that she had been flown out of Pakistan with her immediate family but they did not know where she had been taken to.

Aasia Bibi was facing charges of committing blasphemy since June 2009 when a row broke out between her and two women. The women alleged that she had committed blasphemy after a heated argument between them. Aasia Bibi has always denied the charges.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan heard her appeal in October 2018 against the death sentence issued by Lahore High Court. On October 31, the apex court acquitted her citing lack of evidence and contradiction among witness’ testimony.

Protests broke out across Pakistan immediately after the verdict was made public by the judiciary. TLP and supporters of religio-political parties took to the streets and rioted.

Aasia Bibi

A tense situation developed but after three days of countrywide strikes and a stern warning from Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government struck a five-point deal with protesters.

One of the clauses of the agreement was that the government would take all legal steps to put Aasia Bibi’s name on the ECL. Another clause of the agreement was that the government would not object to a review petition filed against the verdict of the apex court and that all protesters would be released.