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Canada in talks with Pakistan over possibly taking in Asia Bibi

Pakistan       by Haider Ali | Published Pakistan by Haider Ali | Published
Deanna Wagner | 15 November, 2018, 13:47

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that his government was holding talks with Pakistan over potentially offering asylum to Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned.

Bibi has consistently denied the charges and her prosecution rallied worldwide rights groups, politicians and religious figures. The photo is actually of Ms Bibi's daughter from two years ago.

Rights groups say the laws are increasingly exploited by religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal scores.

Terming the reports as "false and baseless", a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said, "Asiya Bibi has not left Pakistan and she is in the country", Geo News reported.

However, the government signed an agreement with the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan protesters and pledged to take steps to stop Bibi from travelling overseas. The politician's constituency is in a deeply conservative region in the country's north-west.

"People can even be killed because of such fake postings", Chaudhry said.

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Ms Bibi, a Catholic, was accused of saying insulting things about the Prophet Muhammad in a dispute with some Muslim women over a cup of water.

A three-judge special bench headed by Justice Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard Asiya's 2014 appeal against her conviction and death sentence and overturned the ruling in favour of her. He also incited the military to mutiny.

Bibi's family has reportedly begun applying for asylum in the Western world, citing calls by thousands of rioters throughout the nation for Bibi to be hung or handed over for a mob lynching. A year later, Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minorities and a Christian, was shot and killed.

Last week, the Netherlands said its ambassador Ardi Stoios-Braken has faced "threats" in Pakistan, apparently over "blasphemous depictions" by Wilders on Twitter. Those who are familiar with her circumstances say she is expected to stay at the location until the Supreme Court carries out the review.

Her release sparked violent protests from Islamists in the country.