Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi freed from jail

Asia Bibi Photo: AFP

By Sumon Ali

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was acquitted by Supreme Court in blasphemy case after spending eight years on death row, has been freed from  in Multan jail.

Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was convicted in 2010 for insulting Islam in a row with her neighbors in 2009.

Saif-ul-Malook lawyer of Bibi said  “She has been freed. I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land.”

Officials said that she left a detention facility in the Punjab province amid tight security on Wednesday and was flown to Islamabad, where she was at a secure location because of threats to her life.

A three judges special bench headed by Justice Nisar, Asi Saeed khosa and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had heard Asia’s 2014 appeal against her conviction and death sentence and overturned the ruling in favor of her.

Many of the protesters who support strong blasphemy laws called for Asia Bibi to be hanged.

One Islamist leader said, “All three Supreme Court judges also deserved to be killed.”

A spokesman for the hardline Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) party said ,“The rulers have showed their dishonesty.”

Her husband and children have been living at a secret address in Pakistan in fear of their lives, and have made repeated appeals to the international community to help secure the whole family’s safety.

“Help us get out of Pakistan. We are extremely worried because our lives are in danger. We no longer have even anything to eat, because we cannot leave the house to buy food,” Ashiq Masih, Bibi’s husband, told Aid to the Church in Need, which campaigns on religious freedom.

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.

Since 1990, at least 65 people have reportedly been killed in Pakistan over claims of blasphemy.