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'No one is telling me when I can leave', Asia Bibi speaks from protective custody

Mon 18 Feb 2019
By Alex Williams

A Christian woman held in protective custody since being cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan last year says she has no idea when the green light might be given, allowing her to finally leave the country.

Asia Bibi, who was moved from Islamabad to Karachi after a legal challenge to her acquittal was dismissed, has spoken via phone to one of her daughters.

According to a friend quoted by The Times, the 47-year-old said: "No one is telling me when they will release me and send us abroad."

 

The newspaper says Ms Bibi is being stopped from completing her asylum paperwork while authorities put pressure on her to refrain from criticising Pakistan during media appearances once she leaves.

 

It is understood the mother-of-five intends to be reunited with her children in Canada - which has already offered her sanctuary.

Pakistan has previously insisted that Ms Bibi is technically free to leave, despite concerns that her departure is being deliberately delayed.

Premier spoke last year with Asia's husband, Ashiq (left), and one of her daughters, Eisham.

 

One senior official told The Times: "Bibi will leave soon once the documentation process is completed and we get the green lights from the host country."

Ms Bibi spent eight years on death row after being convicted of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. She always denied any wrongdoing.

AP Photo/B.K. Bangash

 

Her acquittal last October prompted protests by hard-line Islamists, who claim she should be publicly executed.

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