Smriti Sen Gupta
Despite being acquitted from capital punishment by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Christian labourer Asia Bibi is not only being barred from leaving the country, authorities have already put he in ‘no fly’ list, fearing if she is allowed to leave Pakistan, Asia Bibi may disclose lots of secrets about Pakistani society’s ugly attitude towards the religious minorities.
This step was taken secretly following suggestion from country’s intelligence agencies.
Earlier, the Guardian reported, Bibi, who spent eight years on death row, was transferred from a location near the capital to a house in the southern port city of Karachi, her friend Aman Ullah told the Associated Press. She and her husband are locked in a single room in a house where the door opens only “at food times”.
It further said, Canada has offered her asylum and she wants to join her daughters there. Pakistani authorities have said she is free to travel, but Bibi, 54, says she is being prevented from going.
“She has no indication of when she will leave,” said Ullah, who added that Bibi was frightened and frustrated. “They are not telling her why she cannot leave.” He spoke to her by telephone, after the threats from extremists angered by his assistance to Bibi forced him to flee the country on Friday.
A construction labourer, Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 in what swiftly became Pakistan’s most infamous blasphemy case. She had been accused by Muslim villagers of insulting the prophet Muhammad in a row over a cup of water. She always insisted she was innocent.
Blasphemy is a highly inflammatory issue in Pakistan, where even unproven accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynching. Human rights activists say blasphemy charges are frequently used to settle personal scores.
After the Supreme Court overturned Bibi’s conviction, cities across Pakistan were paralyzed for several days by violent demonstrations with enraged extremists calling for her beheading.
In a deal to end the violence, the government, led by the prime minister, Imran Khan, struck a deal allowing the petition seeking an appeal against the supreme court’s judgment. Khan was accused of capitulating to the extremists’ demands.
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