Ottawa talking with Pakistan about bringing acquitted Christian to Canada

Lester Mason
November 15, 2018

Speaking at a vigil for Asia Bibi organised in Vianen near Utrecht by the foundation Persecuted Christians, which covered the costs of her nine-year long legal battle in Pakistan, the lawyer said he would file a written request with the appropriate authorities in the next few days.

"We are in discussions with the Pakistani government", Mr. Trudeau said in an interview.

Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the overturning of her conviction by the Supreme Court prompted a wave of protests across the country.

Cameron Ahmad said the government recognizes the delicate domestic context and won't comment further on the case, but he noted Canada is a welcoming country.

Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper reported, however, that the Netherlands shut down visas services "as the government released footage of the rioters torching vehicles, blocking roads and vandalizing public and private property following apex court verdict on Aasia Bibi's acquittal".

Bibi's conviction stemmed from a 2009 incident when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. Prime Minister Imran Khan fully backed the Supreme Court's decision in the Aasia Bibi case and warned protesters against clashing with the state. The women later said Bibi had insulted the Prophet Muhammad, and she was charged with blasphemy.

Bibi, who was freed from detention last week, is being held at a secret, closely guarded location in Pakistan.

In a deal with the hard-line Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party that ended the protests, the Pakistani government on November 3 indicated that it will bar Bibi from traveling overseas pending a "review" of the Supreme Court's decision. Bibi denied the claims but was jailed and sentenced to hang on November 11, 2010. Their joy is however tempered with fear as they await a decision from the petition to the Supreme Court challenging her acquittal.

"Asia Bibi has not left Pakistan and she is in the country", a spokesman for the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Her release sparked violent protests from Islamists in the country.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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