Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was cleared by the Supreme Court of blasphemy charges last year after spending eight years on death row, has left the country…reports Asian Lite News
“Aasia Bibi has left the country. She is a free person and travelled on her independent will,” Dawn online reported citing a Foreign Office source.
Though the Pakistani media reports did not specify where Bibi has gone or when she left, CNN quoted her lawyer Saif Ul Malook as saying that she is in Canada.
The mother of five from Pakistan’s Punjab province was taken out of the country after repeated death threats from religious extremists following the quashing of her conviction for blasphemy.
She has been separated from her family and living in safe houses since the 2018 overturning of the sentence. Her children are already in Canada.
Bibi was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to hang after she was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a row with her neighbours.
The apex court’s quashing of Bibi’s sentence last October led to violent protests by religious hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws, while more liberal sections of society urged her release.
Before Bibi’s conviction was overturned, far-right Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) vowed to take to the streets if she was freed. Massive protests paralyzed the country for three days after the ruling was announced.
The group went on the rampage when Bibi’s was acquitted, with protesters jamming into cities, attacking public property and burning cars.