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Asia Bibi reunites with family in Canada: reports

The lawyer of the Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy, said Bibi and her husband had arrived in Canada. He did not disclose the exact time of her departure and how she had left Pakistan, citing security reasons. Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who spent eight years on death row on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, has arrived in Canada with her husband, German media reported Friday, quoting her lawyer. "She is united with her family", Bibi's lawyer Saif-ul-Malook told the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. DW was not able to immediately confirm the development. Bibi's two daughters already live in Canada. The lawyer did not disclose any further details about Bibi's departure from Pakistan, citing security reasons. It was previously reported that Bibi could not leave her native country aboard a regular flight. Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after her neighbors complained she had insulted Prophet Muhammad. A year later, she was sentenced to death despite strong opposition from human rights groups. The news comes just days after Pakistan's Supreme Court rejected an appeal against its October decision to acquit her. She had been living under the "protective custody" of Pakistani authorities since her release from prison in November. Bibi's acquittal on October 31 had led to violent protests by hard-line Islamists. The Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse its earlier ruling, had called for new rallies after the top court this week rejected its petition. But nationwide rallies the extremists had called for on Friday mostly fizzled out, barring some violence in the southern port city of Karachi. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Bibi's lawyer Saif-ul-Malook was still in Pakistan. He had returned to the country shortly before the final Supreme Court hearing after spending months abroad due to death threats. "I'm in my apartment, I'm not going to my office," he told the newspaper

The lawyer of the Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy, said Bibi and her husband had arrived in Canada. He did not disclose the exact time of her departure and how she had left Pakistan, citing security reasons. Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who spent eight years on death row on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, has arrived in Canada with her ... Read More »

Lawyer says Asia Bibi ‘wants to leave for Germany’

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani-Christian woman accused of blasphemy, was released from jail on Wednesday amid violent Islamist protests against her Supreme Court acquittal. But Bibi can reportedly still not leave the country. Bibi's lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook,told the Bild am Sonntag German newspaper that Asia Bibi "would be happy if she could leave for Germany with her family." Bibi, who was acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court on blasphemy charges on October 31, is reportedly still in Pakistan despite her release from jail on Wednesday. Mulook fled Pakistan to the Netherlands a day after the court's decidion. Bibi's was one of the most high-profile blasphemy cases in Pakistan, with international rights groups and Western governments demanding a fair trial in her case. In 2015, Bibi's daughter met with Pope Francis, who offered prayers for her mother at the Vatican. Bibi was arrested in June 2009, after her neighbors complained she had made derogatory remarks about Islam's Prophet Muhammad. A year later, Bibi was sentenced to death, despite strong opposition from national and international human rights groups. Despite her acquittal by the Supreme Court, Bibi remained in prison due to Islamist protests, spearheaded by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, where 97 percent of its 180 million inhabitants are Muslims. Rights activists have demanded reforms of the controversial blasphemy laws, which were introduced by the Islamic military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s. Activists say the laws have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes and personal vendettas Several European countries are willing to take Bibi and her family in, but it is unclear when she would be allowed to leave the South Asian country. What next for Bibi? Haroon Janjua, DW's correspondent in Islamabad, said Prime Minister Imran Khan's government wants to complete all legal requirements before Bibi, who is reportedly under protective custody currently, can leave the country. A review petition against Bibi's acquittal was filed right after the Supreme Court's October 31 verdict. The country's highest court is likely to make a decision on the petition in the next few days. Experts say it is unlikely that the top court's judges, including the Supreme Court's chief justice, would accept the petition, as it would require a larger bench to hear it. After violent protests against the suspension of Bibi's death erupted across the country, Khan's government opted to make a deal with Islamists to "avoid bloodshed." The move was heavily criticized by rights groups. But Khan recently told media that his government would not compromise on legal decisions. "I want to make it clear that the government stands with the decision of the Supreme Court and there will be no compromise on it," Khan said on Saturday. "The rule of law depends on following verdicts of the Supreme Court and if you do not follow the top court's decision then law finishes in the country," he added. Earlier this week, Bibi's attorney told S. Khan, DW's Islamabad correspondent, that he does not think that PM Khan's government has taken any U-turn on the Supreme Court's decision. "I believe that religious hardliners needed a way out, and the authorities gave them that. The conditions of the government-TLP agreement do not amount to the surrender of the state. Having said that, it is a citizen's constitutional right to file a review petition in the Supreme Court." "Almos all blasphemy cases in Pakistan are fabricated. There are people who misuse blasphemy laws. Even if there is a blasphemy charge against anyone, there should be a fair trial without fear and intimidation," Mulook added. Persecution of religious minorities Pakistan's Christians and other religious minorities have often complained of legal and social discrimination in their country. In the past few years, many Christians and Hindus have been brutally murdered over unproven blasphemy allegations. In one case, a young Christian girl with Down syndrome was accused in August 2012 of burning pages upon which verses of the Koran were inscribed. Rimsha Masih was taken into police custody and only released months later, when charges were dropped. The case caused an uproar in her hometown and beyond and sparked riots and violence against Christians in the region. In 2013, she and her family relocated to Canada. In 2014, a Christian couple was beaten to death for allegedly desecrating a copy of the Koran. Their bodies were subsequently burned in a brick kiln. In September last year, a Christian man in Pakistan was sentenced to death for sharing "blasphemous" material on WhatsApp.

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani-Christian woman accused of blasphemy, was released from jail on Wednesday amid violent Islamist protests against her Supreme Court acquittal. But Bibi can reportedly still not leave the country. Bibi’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook,told the Bild am Sonntag German newspaper that Asia Bibi “would be happy if she could leave for Germany with her family.” Bibi, who was acquitted ... Read More »

Islamists block roads in Pakistan over Asia Bibi blasphemy case

Many schools were closed in Pakistan as Islamist groups blocked roads and rallied against the acquittal of Asia Bibi in a flashpoint blasphemy case. An Islamist leader called for Supreme Court judges to be killed. Pakistani authorities deployed troops to guard state buildings in major cities as Islamist protests over Asia Bibi entered their second day on Thursday. Supporters of the extremists Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) party blocked 10 roads around Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, several others outside Lahore and one major entry to the capital Islamabad. Private schools in all three cities were closed. Islamists launched protests after the country's Supreme Court ruled to acquit Bibi of blasphemy in a widely publicized case. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan. TLP co-founder Muhammad Afzal Qadri told his supporters in Lahore that members of the three-judge panel that dismissed the charges should be killed. "All three deserve to be killed," Qadri said at a protest in Lahore. "Either their security, their driver or their cook should kill them." Qadri also said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan should be forced to step down and urged military officers to rebel against powerful military head Javed Bajwa. We will not allow traffic to be blocked' TLP spokesman Pir Ejaz Shah had earlier told DW that the group "will embrace death but will not compromise on our stance" in the blasphemy case. On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Khan urged the protesters not to "test the patience of the state." "We will not allow any damages. We will not allow traffic to be blocked," Khan said. "I appeal to you, do not push the state to the extent that it is forced to take action." Another Islamist group, the Milli Yakjehti Council, is meeting to discuss its response and possible protests over the Bibi case on Thursday. Meanwhile, Asia Bibi's brother told the AP news agency that the mother of four is set to leave Pakistan. Her paperwork is being processed and she is preparing to leave an undisclosed location where she is being held for security reasons. The brother did not say which country Bibi is traveling to. Both France and Spain have already offered her asylum.

Many schools were closed in Pakistan as Islamist groups blocked roads and rallied against the acquittal of Asia Bibi in a flashpoint blasphemy case. An Islamist leader called for Supreme Court judges to be killed. Pakistani authorities deployed troops to guard state buildings in major cities as Islamist protests over Asia Bibi entered their second day on Thursday. Supporters of ... Read More »

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