Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Kingdom refuses asylum for Aasia Bibi

United Kingdom refuses asylum for Aasia Bibi

Her husband has appealed in particular to Britain, Canada and the US, claiming that Ms. Bibi's life would be in danger as long as she lived in Pakistan.

Since her release, Bibi and her family have faced threats and her husband has pleaded with countries in the West to relocate them.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that his government was holding talks with Pakistan over potentially offering asylum to Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned.

Last week, a majority of parties in the Dutch Parliament urged the government to temporarily take charge of Ms Bibi and her family after she was acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court of blasphemy charges for which she had been sentenced to death eight years ago.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohamed Faisal rejected social media reports that Aasia Bibi had left the country. They have also filed a petition to repeal her Supreme Court acquittal.

Bibi has consistently denied the charges and her prosecution rallied worldwide rights groups, politicians and religious figures.

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Bibi, 53, was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 over allegations she made derogatory remarks about Islam, which is punishable by death in Pakistan.

Muslim labourers objected to her touching the water bowl as a non-Muslim.

The Indian news broadcaster WION News reported that communications within the Pakistani embassy suggested that the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) Party, the radical Islamist Party responsible for most of the protests calling for Bibi's death, had planned an attack on the Dutch ambassador, though not related to Bibi.

Approximately 40 people are believed to be on death row or serving a life sentence in Pakistan for blasphemy, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Islamists shut down roads in major cities in Pakistan during three days of demonstrations against Bibi's acquittal at the end of last month.

Following Bibi's release, the TLP vowed to return to the streets if she was allowed to leave the country.

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