Asia & Pacific
Release of Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy roils Pakistan
Asia Bibi had been on death row in Pakistan since 2010. (British Pakistani Christian Association/AFP)
By Pamela Constable November 8 at 9:47 AM
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The release from prison of a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy against Islam, and unconfirmed reports that she was then secretly airlifted abroad, are roiling Pakistani Muslims and intensifying fears in the country’s minority Christian community.
The government on Thursday confirmed the release of Asia Bibi, whose acquittal by the Pakistani Supreme Court last week sparked violent protests and death threats against authorities. But officials denied Pakistani media reports that she was then secretly flown out of the country.
Pakistani news media reported widely Thursday that Bibi, whose lawyer fled the country earlier this week, was covertly freed from prison in the city of Multan under a high court order, driven to a military air base near the capital and flown to the Netherlands on Wednesday, accompanied by her family and the Dutch ambassador to Pakistan.