After Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi on Oct 30, mass protests led by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) halted life in four major cities as the mobs blocked off roads and damaged property. The protests finally ended after three days when the hardliners reached an agreement with the government. One of the conditions was that Asia’s name placed on the Exit Control List (ECL). Persons on the list are prohibited from leaving Pakistan. The government agreed to initiate the legal process to place Bibi’s name on the Exit Control List.
Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said in an interview with Voice of America,
“Unless a person is declared guilty, there is no legal ground ─ how can his or her name be placed on the ECL?” he asked. “There is no question regarding this.”
“Every Pakistani, regardless of his creed or religion, is the state’s responsibility. No one in Pakistan can be given a license to play with someone’s life or property in order to get their terms accepted.”
Afridi said she is still in the country and Asia and her family are being provided security by the government. Pakistani official sources requesting anonymity claim she has been moved from the prison, put on a plane for security purposes and taken to an undisclosed place in the nation’s capital.
Her lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook said he received news that she has been freed.”I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land.,” he shared in a message to the AFP.
Italy said it’s helping Asia and her family to leave Pakistan and working behind the scenes with other nations to ensure her safety.
“I want women and children whose lives are at risk to be able to have a secure future, in our country or in other Western countries, so I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee that (for Bibi),” Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said.
“It is not permissible that in 2018 someone can risk losing their life for a … hypothesis of blasphemy,” he said.
Yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party called for Germany to grant Bibi refuge.
Please keep praying for Asia and her family.