Strongly urge section of media to act responsibly, says Fawad Chaudhry

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ISLAMABAD: Aasia Bibi case is sensitive, it was extremely irresponsible to publish news of her leaving the country without confirmation, said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday.

Fawad Chaudhry urged a ‘section of media’ to act responsibly and refrain from publishing news that was sensitive.

A leading English daily in Pakistan published the news on its front page without crediting the BBC report in its headline. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement denying that Aasia had left the country and said that she was still in Pakistan.

BBC reports Aasia has been flown out of the country 

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.

Foreign Office denies Aasia left 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.