Asia Bibi Released From Multan Prison, Has Not Yet Left the Country: FO
On Thursday, the Foreign Office denied reports of Asia Bibi having left the country. Asia Bibi is a Christian woman who was previously convicted of blasphemy and was sentenced to death. However, was acquitted by the Supreme Court after eight years of jail-time, due to charged not being able to prove against her plea.
The Foreign Office representation, Dr Muhammad Faisal, stated during a weekly press briefing that Asia Bibi is in Pakistan and has not yet left the country.
“There is no truth in reports that Asia Bibi has left the country,” he stated.
The FO representative’s statement came in response to rumors of Asia Bibi having already left the country after her release from Multan prison on Wednesday night.
According to her lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook, Bibi has been freed. He said, “I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land.”
The mother of five children reportedly flew to an unknown destination, however, a civil aviation official in Multan revealed that Bibi went in a small plane which had arrived in the city with a few foreigners and Pakistanis to take the acquitted with them.
The civil aviation official further said that the aircraft that collected Bibi from jail was the one that requires to land in Islamabad, however, it has been unclear if the flight was a connecting one.
On Thursday, three security officials stated that Bibi was officially released from the Multan prison and was flown to the airport nearby Islamabad. They further said that her life is at stake, which is why she has been put under strict protective custody.
Asia Bibi Case:
Asia Bibi, who is now 53, was reportedly laboring in a field back in June 2009 when she went to fetch water for her fellow farmers. Due to the harsh heat, she decided to drink some of the water from the nearby well. Soon after a fight broke out between her and some Muslim women, who had claimed that she committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). According to the reports, they even forced her to convert to Islam but she refused.
Bibi was then convicted of blasphemy by the elders and religious leaders of the village, and was sentenced to death in 2010. Her lawyers had, since then, tried to prove her innocence throughout the eight years time, and insisted that the accusers held a grudge against her.
On October 31, she was acquitted by the Supreme Court when charges against her could not be proven. The release had triggered religious protests across the country — led by the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) — who had blocked major roads in Pakistan and demanded her immediate execution. Her husband, Ashiq Masih, has now been requesting United Stated or Britain for asylum.
On Sunday, her lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook, fled to the Netherlands after receiving dangerous threats to his life.
On November 2, after two days of protests, the government agreed on a deal with Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) to impose a travel van called Exit Control List (ECL) on Bibi. PTI-led government also decided to compensate for the citizens who faced damages during the riots.