Has Asia Bibi left Pakistan? Foreign Office clarifies mystery

ISLAMABAD – The Foreign Office of Pakistan has clarified that Asia Bibi, a blasphemy suspect who was set free by the Supreme Court, has not left the country.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal affirmed during his weekly press briefing on Thursday that Asia Bibi was still in Pakistan, contrary to the media reports.

Earlier, on Wednesday Pakistan’s leading daily reported that Asia Bibi had left the country following her release from a prison in Multan; Asia’s lawyer, Said-ul-Mulook had confirmed that she had been freed.

The Foreign Office has now refuted the rumours that Asia had left Pakistan though officially it has been confirmed that she was released from the Multan prison; her precise location is still under the wraps out of security fears.

Asia Bibi was acquitted by the apex court last week, prompting Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to stage protests across the length and breadth of the country.

After three-days an agreement was inked with the government in which it was agreed that the incumbent regime would take measures for placing her name on Exit Control List (ECL), effectively barring her from leaving the country.

Bibi was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010 by a trial court. She later moved the Lahore High Court against the execution sentence, however, the court had upheld the verdict.

On Oct 31, the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi and overturned her death sentence. It also ordered to immediately release the woman, who spent eight years on death row.