Pakistan, Canada discuss Asia Bibi’s asylum, confirms FO

Pakistan, Canada discuss Asia Bibi’s asylum, confirms FO

Islamabad (Staff Report): Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Tuesday confirmed that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi discussed Asia Bibi’s, a Pakistani Christian woman recently acquitted by the Supreme Court in blasphemy case, asylum issue with his Canadian counterpart.

“Canadian FM telephoned FM Qureshi yesterday. Among other issues, Asia Bibi was discussed,” Dr Faisal said in a tweet. “Canadian FM appreciated Supreme Court’s courageous decision & PM’s positive speech,” he added.

“FM Qureshi said that Asia Bibi is our national and Pakistan fully respects her legal rights,” Dr Faisal in another tweet.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that his government is in discussions with Islamabad about granting asylum to Asia Bibi.

Mr Trudeau confirmed a foreign news agency that his government was looking into bringing her to Canada.

"There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don't want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country," he said.

Asia Bibi, sometimes known as Asia Noreen, was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a row with neighbours the previous year.

The mother-of-five was the first female non-Muslim charged under the country's blasphemy laws. The laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam.

Asia Bibi was released from a prison in Multan city of Pakistan after the apex court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove its case against Bibi.

The apex court decision set off a wave of protests across the length and breadth of Pakistan which ended after three-days following an agreement with government.

Asia Bibi's husband has said the family is in danger and has pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada. Her lawyer, Saiful Malook, has been granted temporary asylum in the Netherlands after facing death threats.