Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam:
Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was acquitted of blasphemy last week, has been freed from Multan prison and transferred to a “safe place,” according to her lawyer and the president of the European Parliament.
“I thank the Pakistani authorities. I look forward meeting her and her family, in the European Parliament as soon as possible,” the parliament’s President Antonio Tajani tweeted on November 7.
#AsiaBibi has left the prison and has been transferred to a safe place! I thank the Pakistani authorities. I look forward meeting her and her family, in the European Parliament as soon as possible.
— Antonio Tajani (@EP_President) November 7, 2018
“She has been freed. I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land,” her lawyer Saif-ul-Malook said in a message sent to media, fled Pakistan at the weekend after being issued with death threats, and is seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
Canada, France and Spain were reportedly considering offering asylum to Bibi and her family. Her husband has also appealed to the UK and the US to offer a safe haven.
In Italy, Matteo Salvini, the hardline anti-migrant interior minister, said he would do “all that is humanly possible” to ensure Bibi and her family were safe, either in Italy or elsewhere.
Bibi was convicted of blasphemy after a row with Muslim women in her village. Two Pakistani politicians were killed for publicly supporting her and criticising the country’s blasphemy laws.
The supreme court’s decision last week to overturn the verdict led to violent protests throughout Pakistan and calls for the judges in the case to be killed.