Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi freed from jail, headed to Netherland

Chennabasaveshwar P

Islamabad, Nov 8: Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail. Asia Bibi's acquittal has triggered Islamist protests in Pakistan. Asia Bibi's conviction was overturned by the country's highest court last Wednesday, but she remained in prison as the government negotiated with hardliners who blockaded major cities and demanded her immediate execution.

A Lahore-based TV news channel reported that Asia Bibi was released from New Jail for Women in Multan (around 350km from Lahore) late on Wednesday and taken to Noor Khan Airbase, Rawalpindi, from where a chartered plane would take her to the Netherlands.

According to reports, Italy is also working to help relocate the family of Asia Bibi, amid warnings from her husband that the family's life is in danger in Pakistan. News agency AP reported that the foreign Ministry said it was coordinating with other countries to ensure safety for Asia Bibi and her family. In a statement, the ministry said it was ready to act on whatever the Italian government might decide - an indication that an offer of asylum might be in the offing.

Asia Bibi

In this Nov. 20, 2010, file photo, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, listens to officials at a prison in Sheikhupura near Lahore, Pakistan. Bibi's case has generated international outrage, but within Pakistan it has fired up radical Islamists, who use the blasphemy law to rally supporters and intimidate mainstream political parties. AP/PTI file photo

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam

Maulana Fazalur Rehman, leader of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam addresses a rally to condemn a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. PTI file photo

Pakistan Christians celebrate

Pakistan Christians distribute sweets to celebrate the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Catholic mother of five who has been on death row since 2010 accused of blasphemy, in Multan, Pakistan. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Pakistan's top court on Wednesday acquitted Bibi who was sentenced to death under the country's controversial blasphemy law. PTI file photo

Pakistani radical Islamist party

Mohammed Ahmed Ludhianvi, right, chief of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat, a Pakistani radical Islamist party, addresses a news conference where he condemned the Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Bibi has not been released and her husband appealed on Sunday to U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May to help the family leave Pakistan. AP/PTI file photo

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