Aasia Bibi and family safely resettled in Canada
International news outlets report that Aasia Bibi, who was acquitted of “blasphemy” charges by the Supreme Court on 31 October 2018 has left Pakistan. Barnabas Fund has been aware for some time that Aasia Bibi and her family had left Pakistan and were safely resettled in Canada. However, at the request of Pakistani Christian leaders we did not publicise this information for her safety and to avoid the possibility of violence on the streets of Pakistan.
The Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik party in Pakistan had threatened to incite national disorder if Aasia Bibi was released and widespread street protests erupted after her conviction was overturned.
Hard-line Islamists called for Aasia Bibi’s execution after the acquittal. Her husband appealed directly to the UK for asylum stating, "The current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding here and there, frequently changing our location."
Stringent secrecy has been maintained over Aasia Bibi’s whereabouts since her release under government protection on 7 November 2018. The Christian mother of five, who spent nearly eight years on death row, was flown to an undisclosed place of safety in Islamabad after her release from Multan woman’s prison.
Her lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook, fled Pakistan in November 2018 after receiving several death threats.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court threw out a petition filed against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi on 29 January 2019. The three judges stated no flaw could be found and upheld their original verdict dismissing the accusations against her as a false “concoction”.
Aasia Bibi had angered Muslim co-workers on 14 June 2009 by drinking from the shared cup when she fetched them a bucket of water as they picked crops together on a sweltering summer’s day. The Muslims considered that her action made the water “unclean”. An argument ensued, and Aasia Bibi was later accused of “blasphemy” by a local cleric who was not present during the quarrel and heard about the matter afterwards from the other women.