Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan to be reunited with daughters in Canada: reports

by Samuel Smith/CP, |
Asia Bibi (R) was sentenced to execution in 2010 after being accused by her former colleagues of blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad. | Photo: Reuters

Reports have indicated that Pakistani Christian mother Asia Bibi (Aasiya Noreen), who spent years on death row, left Pakistan and arrived in Canada.

A British diplomat told the London-based British Pakistani Christian Association on Wednesday morning that Bibi safely left Pakistan after months of delay following the acquittal of her blasphemy charge by Pakistan's Supreme Court last year.

Her lawyer, Saif ul Malook, told the BBC that she already arrived in Canada.

She and her husband, Ashiq Masih, have been living the last few months in protective custody and under fear of death threats from Islamic extremists who have also called for the deaths of the justices that issued her acquittal.

Bibi and her husband have been waiting to leave for Canada, where her daughters have relocated.

"Asia Bibi on her way to Canada to be reunited with her daughters! Such great news!" Nadine Maenza, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tweeted, citing The Daily Mail report. "Praying for her health and reunion with her family."

BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry, whose organization provides humanitarian assistance to persecuted Christians in Pakistan, explained that he had been in communication with Ashiq Masih daily up until Monday.

"Ashiq has always remained hopeful of an imminent release from Pakistan and we have both been shocked at how long it has taken," Chowdhry said in a statement. "Asia Bibi and Ashiq have remained resolute in their faith and have prayed daily for their release and today God has answered their prayers. BPCA [is] grateful that we have been able to be a part of this family's journey to freedom and will continue to pray for them and assist them where we can."

Chowdhry told The Christian Post in a text message that American diplomats have been "behind the scenes from the outset."

An unnamed source told The Daily Mail that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was "incredibly helpful" in securing Bibi's release from Pakistan.

"The Pakistan army's objection was that if they let her go, and she went public rubbishing Pakistan, it would be bad for all of them," the source told The Daily Mail.

Bibi, a farm laborer in the Punjab province, was sentenced to death in 2010 after she was accused by Muslim women of insulting Islam's prophet Muhammad.

Insulting Islam's holy prophet is a crime punishable by death under Pakistan's penal code section 295-C.

After years of delay, Bibi's appeal was finally heard by the Pakistan Supreme Court, which acquitted Bibi of the charge last October.

Continue reading about Asia Bibi on The Christian Post.