See More on Facebook

Curiosity, Politics

Woman accused of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi was initially found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death.


Written by

Updated: November 8, 2018

After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Asia Bibi was brought to Islamabad on board a special aircraft on Wednesday night, reliable sources told Dawn Newspaper.

The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base.

Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons.

Authorities concerned were also tight-lipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the country.

On Tuesday, Italy stated it would help Asia leave Pakistan because her life was in danger in the country following charges of blasphemy that put her on death row for eight years.

Her husband Ashiq Masih has reportedly stated that they could be killed by those opposing her acquittal. The authorities previously said they may bar the Christian woman from travelling abroad as a review petition against her acquittal had already been filed.

Earlier, the international Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) had quoted Ashiq Masih as saying in a telephone call: “I appeal to the Italian government to help me and my family leave Pakistan. We are extremely worried because our lives are in danger. We don’t even have enough to eat because we can’t go out to buy food.”

Asia’s case has prompted groups such as ACN, which has close ties to the Vatican, to demand protection for Christians in countries where they are a minority.

Soon after the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) blocked roads in major cities of the country for three days, condemning the judges who had acquitted Aasia Bibi, the prime minister and the army chief.

The TLP called off the protests after striking a deal with the government under which it could bar Asia from leaving the country.

Asia’s lawyer Saiful Mulook fled to the Netherlands a couple of days ago because of fears for his safety.

In a message sent to AFP soon after she was freed, Mr Mulook said: “I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Curiosity, Politics

Fresh clashes in Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protesters clash with police, angry at lack of prosecutions after July subway mob attack. Thousands of jeering Hong Kong residents held a raucous anti-government protest on Wednesday (Aug 21) at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence. Some masked protesters clashed with police in the sub-tropical heat, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil to stop the police advancing. Some demonstrators blocked station exits and sealed roads outside the station, aiming green laser beams at the lines of shield-bearing officers. Others threw empty fire extinguishers at police lines from overpasses. It was the latest in a series of demonstrations, which have sometimes turned violent, since June against a perceived erosion


By The Straits Times
August 22, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

China to impose sanctions on US firms over Taiwan arms sales

The US have approved the sale of F16 fighter jets to Taiwan. China on Wednesday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned arms sales to Taiwan, saying China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests including imposing sanctions on US companies involved in the planned sales. The US Defense Department on Wednesday officially notified the US Congress of the plan to sell 66 F-16 fighters and relevant equipment worth around US$8 billion to Taiwan and to provide support. “China firmly opposes the plan and has lodged solemn representations and protests to the US side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing. ALSO READ: 


By China Daily
August 22, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

India successfully places probe in moon’s orbit

Landing attempt will take place on September 7. In a significant step for India’s moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully placed in the moon’s orbit on Tuesday in a nerve-wracking manoeuvre, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) was completed successfully at 9.02 am as planned using the onboard propulsion system. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy. “The duration of manoeuvre was 1,738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114km X 18,072km,” the ISRO said. The 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2, a three-module spacecraft comprising an orbiter, Lander Vikram and rover, which was launched on July 22, will make a soft-land on the moon on September 7. The process of setting down Chandrayaan 2 on the Moon i


By The Statesman
August 21, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Seoul reviews military intel-sharing pact with Japan

Koreans divided on GSOMIA as the deadline for renewal emerges on Saturday. Nearly six decades have passed since South Korea and Japan signed a treaty to normalize diplomatic ties in 1965, but their relationship has been fraught since then with continued bitterness over the history of Korea’s colonization. Now, as the relationship of the “frenemies” hits a new low with a budding trade war, Seoul has hinted at scrapping a military intel-sharing pact with Tokyo. But while South Koreans are unified in denouncing Japan’s increased controls on exports to South Korea, opinions are split over whether it is appropriate to use the military informati


By The Korea Herald
August 21, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Nearly two million rally peacefully in Hong Kong

Government says while rally is generally peaceful, traffic disrupted. Protesters gathered at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, as well as the Central Government Complex next to it on Sunday night (Aug 18). This followed an earlier peaceful march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central despite a police ban. Some protesters, however, turned their laser pointers on the government offices. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters lingered on Harcourt Road, prompting police to issue a warning for them to disperse. The police said the protesters had “shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers”, posing a safety threat. Protesters there briefly surrounded a mainland Chinese man and questioned his identity after he was spotted trying


By The Straits Times
August 19, 2019