KARACHI, Pakistan (CNS) — Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Asia Bibi remains in the country, negating speculation that she had already joined her family in Canada.
Khan told the BBC in an interview published online April 10 that Bibi was still in Pakistan because there was “a little bit of a complication,” which he declined to explain.
“But I can assure you she is safe, and she will be leaving in weeks,” Khan said during the interview, conducted in London.
The Catholic mother of five had been on death row for blasphemy since 2010 and was held in solitary confinement for eight years, reported ucanews.com.
In a landmark judgment in November, the Supreme Court of Pakistan quashed her death sentence and ordered her immediate release from prison.
The ruling sparked violent nationwide protests that came to an end only after the government agreed to stop Bibi from leaving Pakistan until a challenge to her acquittal was heard by the top court. On Jan. 29, the court upheld Bibi’s acquittal, allowing her to exit Pakistan.
Days after the court’s ruling, she was airlifted from a prison in Multan to the capital, Islamabad, where she reportedly was kept in a safe house due to death threats. Subsequent media reports stated preparations were being made for Bibi to be relocated with her family, who was living in an undisclosed location in Canada.
Catholic activists in Pakistan were dismayed that Bibi had not been flown out of Pakistan.
Katherine Sapna, director of Christian True Spirit, said there was “total confusion” about Bibi’s real situation.
“We assume that she is in a protective place,” said Sapna, who is leading a delegation of politicians and activists to the Dutch parliament later this month to discuss the misuse of the blasphemy law and the forced conversions of females.
“But the confusion benefits Bibi and her family. The hardline clerics were the biggest challenge for the state during proceedings of her case,” she said.
Kashif Aslam, a program coordinator for the Pakistan Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace, said Bibi’s presence in Pakistan appears as if the authorities are waiting for a conducive time to move her.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103