Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was accused of blasphemy, sentenced to death and then acquitted by the Supreme Court on October 31, resulting in protests across Pakistan, is still unable to leave the country and join her family in Canada, AP reported on Sunday, citing her friend and rights activist Aman Ullah.
“She has no indication of when she will leave,” Ullah, who spoke to Bibi via telephone on Friday, said. “They are not telling her why she cannot leave.” Ullah had fled Pakistan following threats from extremists after he supported Bibi. He added that Bibi has been moved from one secret location in Karachi to another.
Bibi was accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a group of women in her neighbourhood near Lahore in 2009. The women had said they could no longer use a cup from which Bibi had drunk water because she was Christian. Bibi later acknowledged using “hot words” during the ensuing argument but insisted that she never said anything blasphemous.
A trial court sentenced her to death for blasphemy in 2010. She moved the Supreme Court against a 2014 Lahore High Court order that upheld the trial court’s decision. Bibi spent eight years in solitary confinement.
The farm worker and her husband are locked inside a room in a house, and the door only opens “at food times”, Ullah said, adding that she is allowed to make phone calls in the morning and at night, which she usually spends talking to her daughters. She also told the activist that her security detail did not explain why she was still confined.
But Pakistan officials said they were protecting her. “She is living with her family and given requisite security for safety,” Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told AP. “She is a free citizen after her release from jail and can move anywhere in Pakistan or abroad.”