Christian Woman Leaves Pakistan For Canada After Blasphemy Acquittal

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The FINANCIAL — Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row, has left for Canada to be reunited with her daughters, Pakistani officials have noted.

Bibi’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court last year, sparking violent protests by religious hard-liners.

Pakistani officials didn’t say when Bibi left, but her lawyer, Saif ul-Malook, said she had already arrived in Canada, where two of her daughters are understood to have been granted asylum.

Bibi, 48, was sentenced to death by a court in the central province of Punjab in 2010 for allegedly committing blasphemy in a dispute with Muslim women while working on a farm.

In 2014, a higher court in the provincial capital, Lahore, upheld the sentence.

Since her acquittal by the Supreme Court in October 2018, Bibi had been in protective custody while arrangements were made for her to leave the country.

Islamic extremists have threatened to kill her and also urged the overthrow of the government following Bibi’s acquittal.

Bibi’s case brought international attention to Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law, which carries an automatic death penalty.

Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was killed in 2011 for defending Bibi and criticizing the misuse of the blasphemy law.

Pakistan’s minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated later that year after demanding justice for Bibi.


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