Asylum application filed for Asia Bibi in Netherlands a day after Pakistan dispels rumours of her leaving country

Islamabad: An asylum application has been filed in the Netherlands for Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who was acquitted in a blasphemy case by the country’s Supreme Court last month.

Asia’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook, who himself fled from Pakistan to the Netherlands, earlier this week told CNN that the application, filed for Asia, her husband and their two children, has been submitted to the authorities. The lawyer had fled to the European nation following threats to his life.

A police official takes the thumb print of Asia Bibi. Reuters

A police official takes the thumb print of Asia Bibi. Reuters

Asia was released from a women’s prison in Multan late on Wednesday after the completion of all formalities by the jail administration, Geo News reported.  however, speculations had emerged that she had left the country soon after being released from prison. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal on Thursday dispelled the rumours, clarifying that Asia is still in Pakistan.

On 31 October, mass protests had erupted in various parts of Pakistan after the country’s top court acquitted Asia of blasphemy charges. The demonstrations were later called off when the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had reached an agreement on not allowing Asia to leave the country.

A three-judge special bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and also comprising of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, had heard Asia’s 2014 appeal against her conviction and death sentence and overturned the ruling in favour of her. Asia was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting Islam during an argument with three Muslim women.

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