Source: The Express Tribune
MULTAN : Aasia Bibi, a blasphemy accused who was acquitted by the apex court on October 31, flew out of Pakistan in the wee hours of Thursday after her release from Multan jail on Wednesday evening.
According to BBC Urdu, Bibi left for Netherlands from Noor Khan Airbase along with her family and the Dutch ambassador.
Earlier, she was shifted from Multan jail to the federal capital amid heightened security on Wednesday night – exactly one week after the country’s top court acquitted her of blasphemy charges that were levelled against her in 2009.
According to official sources, the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning issued a notification to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Law and Justice for her release.
The notification was forwarded to District Jail Sheikhupura which issued the order for Aasia Bibi’s release from Multan Women Jail, where she had been shifted in view of security threats.
The sources said that prior to her release, the jail administration conducted her medical examination and found her completely healthy. Later, she was shifted to Multan airport in a convoy amid heightened security. During her movement, the route from jail to the airport was also briefly blocked.
Aasia Bibi was taken to Islamabad in a private plane, a source added.
Thousands of protestors mainly belonging to the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) poured onto the streets in protest after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court overturned Asia Bibi’s conviction on October 31.
The protestors blockaded major cities to demand her immediate execution, in a three-day stand-off that ended when the government agreed to allow a review of the ruling and put her name on the no-fly list.
However, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi told Voice of America earlier in the day that until Bibi is convicted or there is a judicial order, and her name cannot be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).
“Every Pakistani, no matter their religion, is the responsibility of the government and no one can be given a licence to play with someone’s life or property,” he added. “Aasia Bibi and her family have been provided complete security.”
When asked about the clause in the agreement with the TLP that allowed a review petition on Aasia’s acquittal, he said such a petition is within a citizen’s rights to pursue and that any decisions made by the SC will be fully implemented.
Speaking on the protests, Afridi said, “We decided not to use force and engage them instead.” He said all stakeholders and the opposition were consulted about decisions made in the wake of the protests.
The government says legal proceedings against scores arrested after the protests are continuing and there will be no compromise on supremacy of the law.