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Officials contradict reports Bibi left Pakistan

by Onize Ohikere & Lynde Langdon
Posted 2/02/19, 10:27 am

UPDATE: Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy against Islam, remains in hiding in Pakistan despite reports she had reunited with her family in Canada, according to several sources. Fox News reported Friday that Pakistani and Canadian government officials said Bibi had not left Pakistan. Shaan Taseer, the son of the former governor of Punjab who was killed for supporting Bibi, told DW News of Germany that Bibi was still in the country. Reports that she left stemmed from a quote from her attorney, Saif-ul-Malook, in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Pakistan is still working on a plan for Bibi’s safe departure, Fox News reported, since it would not be safe for her to leave on a commercial flight.

OUR EARLIER REPORT (10:53 a.m., 2/1/19): The lawyer for Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy against Islam, said Friday she has arrived in Canada, which granted her asylum. Meanwhile in Pakistan, protests against her release drew a smaller-than-expected turnout.

The Pakistani Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Bibi’s October acquittal, clearing the way for her to leave the country. Her case sparked mass protests across Pakistan, and the Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik party called for renewed demonstrations this week. A few rallies took place in the country’s northwest and in the capital, Islamabad, but the party’s calls for business and transport operators to go on strike went unanswered. In the southern port city of Karachi, police used tear gas and batons to disperse demonstrators.

Bibi spent eight years on death row over a 2009 incident involving two Muslim women who worked on a farm with her and refused to drink water from the container she used. She was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in 2010. Bibi’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, told the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that Bibi made it to Canada and “is united with her family” without disclosing further details.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • SN
    Posted: Fri, 02/01/2019 02:17 pm

    This is an answer to the prayers of many.  Thank you, Lord, for your mercy upon Mrs. Bibi and her family!

  • MM
    Posted: Fri, 02/01/2019 04:18 pm

    Amen and Amen! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  • Doug Olson
    Posted: Fri, 02/01/2019 04:25 pm

    Good afternoon,

    Truly, thank the LORD God that after all this time, eight plus (8+) years, Mrs. Bibi and her family are safe in Canada!! What lesson(s) are to be learned from this lady's experience? Think and pray about  it!!

    Doug Olson

  • JerryM
    Posted: Fri, 02/01/2019 05:38 pm

    This is good news.  Let us continue to remember the many more who languish in their home countries, facing similar death threats and persecution...

  • MM
    Posted: Sat, 02/02/2019 12:38 am

    Fox News is reporting, as of Friday afternoon, that rumors of Asia Bibi having already arrived in Canada are false and that she is still in Pakistan. It sounds like we may still need to continue praying for her safe passage out of the country.

  •  burningheart's picture
    Posted: Mon, 02/04/2019 03:05 pm

    World needs to check out these news leads a little more carefully before publishing.

    Posted: Mon, 02/04/2019 04:53 pm

    I don't know how a person could hide when the press is pursuing them and telling everyone where the person is. She may as well have a tracking tag on her. 

    If they thought she left they would cease to look for her, but now they can resume looking until they get the prize. Seriously?! What is it with the press?