Pakistan discussing Asia Bibi case with Canada reports confirmed
Pakistan confirmed on Tuesday that it has discussed with Canada the case of Asia Bibi, a day after Ottawa indicated that it wants to offer asylum to the Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned.
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal's remarks came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government was holding talks with Pakistan over potentially offering asylum to Bibi.
Faisal said that Canadian Foreign Minister telephoned his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday.
"Among other issues, Asia Bibi was discussed. Canadian FM appreciated the Supreme Court's courageous decision...Qureshi said that Asia Bibi is our national and Pakistan fully respects her legal rights," Faisal tweeted.
The confirmation about official contact by Canada about Bibi was made by Pakistan after Canadain Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "We are in discussions with the Pakistani government."
Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was released from Multan jail last week after the Supreme Court in its landmark decision acquitted her of blasphemy charges.
She was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours. Bibi always maintained her innocence but spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.
Bibi's acquittal sparked violent protests from radical Islamists across Pakistan.
The Imran Khan-led government had agreed to their demand to stop her from leaving Pakistan and extend its help to place her name on the no-fly list.
The BBC Urdu's report that she had been taken to another country created a lot of confusion and the Foreign Office had to issue a clarification that Bibi was in the country.
Earlier, Bibi's husband had appealed to US President Donald Trump and premiers of the UK and Canada to help her and other family members leave Pakistan as their lives were in danger. Italy had offered asylum to Bibi.
(With inputs from agencies.)