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Asia Bibi, Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after decade-long battle against death sentence, arrives in Canada

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman at the centre of a decade-long blasphemy row in Pakistan has left the country months after her death sentence was overturned amid mass protests by Islamist hardliners, reports said.

Though her daughters are believed to have already fled to Canada, Bibi's lawyer Saif ul Malook confirmed to BBC that she has already arrived in Canada, and her daughters are understood to have been granted asylum there.

 Asia Bibi, Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after decade-long battle against death sentence, arrives in Canada

File image of Asia Bibi. Reuters.

Her departure, meanwhile, was first reported by Dawn and Geo News citing unnamed official and unofficial sources.

Bibi, a labourer from central Punjab province, was first convicted of blasphemy in 2010 for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours and was on death row until her acquittal on 31 October, 2018. Her case drew worldwide attention on the extremism and minority persecution in Pakistan where blasphemy is an incendiary issue and carries a maximum death penalty under the country's penal code. According to BBC's report, since 1990, at least 65 people have been killed in Pakistan over claims of blasphemy.

Bibi, meanwhile was in protective custody till now after the Pakistan Supreme Court upheld her acquittal in January. She had always maintained her innocence but spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement till she challenged the verdict in October 2014 in the Lahore High Court — which upheld the death sentence. Later, the apex court's decision to acquit her had sparked three-day-long mass protests led by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

 

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Updated Date: May 08, 2019 14:46:14 IST