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Asia Bibi ‘to join her daughters in Canada’ after cleared of blasphemy charges

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted in a blasphemy case after spending eight years on death row, is set to fly to Canada where she will join her two daughters.

The mother-of-five remained hidden under government protection after the Supreme Court upheld her release earlier this week, but she is expected to depart the country imminently.

“She will fly to Canada very soon to join her daughters who are already there,” her lawyer, Saiful Malook, confirmed to Arab News on Wednesday. “Yes, Canada has offered them asylum.”

 

Following the dismissal of review petition, Asia Bibi was quoted by another international publication as saying that she wants to hug her daughters, who have already gone to Canada.

Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih with his daughters.

Bibi’s daughters left Pakistan in secret and flew to Canada in December earlier this month after accepting an offer of asylum by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Ottawa is a leading contender to give the whole family asylum.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office, meanwhile, said Asia Bibi can freely travel anywhere as she has been cleared from all charges of blasphemy from the country’s top court.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel had on Tuesday dismissed the review petition against Asia’s acquittal in blasphemy case “based on merit.

The CJP expressed that there is clear logical inconsistency in statements of all the witnesses, they could be imprisoned forever or given death sentence for misleading the court in such delicate case.

“We are deliberately keeping sensitivity of the case in consideration, otherwise, witnesses would have been in prison over false statements,” he included.

In a scathing conclusion, the top judge accused the prosecution witnesses of perjury and suggested they would have been jailed in any less sensitive case. He also decried the protests which met Asia’s acquittal in October.

“Is this the face of Islam that we want to show to the world?” he asked.

Prayer leader Qari Muhammad Salaam had petitioned the court, asking it to dismiss its earlier judgment and uphold the death sentence brought down in 2010.However despite zero execution under the blasphemy laws at least 75 people have been killed in Pakistan by angry mobs and individuals on the accusation of blasphemy during last three decades according to a report by Center for Social Justice to Fides New Agency.

Amnesty International describes Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as “over broad, vague and coercive”.

“They have been used to target religious minorities, pursue personal vendettas and carry out vigilante violence. On the basis of little or no evidence, the accused struggle to establish their innocence while angry and violent groups of people seek to intimidate the police, witnesses, prosecutors, lawyers and judges.”

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