Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi has landed in Canada - Lawyer

Aasia Bibi a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges who was acquitted by the Supreme Court has left Pakistan. — File

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was freed from death row by the Pakistan Supreme Court in a blasphemy case a year ago, has left the country and reached Canada to reunite with her family, according to her lawyer.

"She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone endure the constant threats to her life".

Following Bibi's acquittal in October the country was gripped for days by violent protests led by hardline group Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), which also called for mutiny in the armed forces and assassination of the country's top judges for acquitting her.

Islamic extremists have rioted over the case and threatened to kill Bibi.

Meanwhile, Bibi was kept in a secret location while arrangements were made for her safe departure from the country where she was held prisoner on death row for eight years.

Pakistan's foreign ministry did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

Last year, she won her appeal against the conviction and death sentence, sparking widespread protests throughout Pakistan.

Ashiq Mesih (R) and Eisham Ashiq, the husband and daughter of Asia Bibi, speak during an interview with AFP in London, on October 12, 2018. Bibi may spend the rest of her days looking over her shoulder in fear of an worldwide assassin.

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Pakistani media say Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row, has left Pakistan for Canada to be reunited with her daughters.

It was not clear when Bibi may have left or where she may have gone, though British Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to confirm that Canada was her destination while speaking on the floor of the House of Commons.

Mere allegations of insulting Islam have sparked lynchings in the past.

Bibi's case brought global attention to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, which carries an automatic death penalty.

Bibi was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to hang after she was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during an argument a year earlier with Muslim colleagues. Then-Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer, who spoke in her defense, was assassinated by his own bodyguard in 2011.

In November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was in talks with Pakistan about helping Bibi, whose family are believed to be outside Pakistan.

Hundreds of women and girls from Pakistan's Christian minority have been trafficked to China as brides in recent months as their country becomes a new marriage market for Chinese men. Two Pakistani politicians were later killed for publicly supporting her and criticising the country's draconian blasphemy laws.

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