Asia Bibi has finally escaped the country where her life was at risk for nearly a decade. The Pakistani Christian will join her family in Canada, according to reports from media and her lawyer.
In Pakistan’s most-watched persecution case, Bibi spent more than eight years in prison on blasphemy charges and faced the death penalty. After she was exonerated last year, she could not live freely in her home country since she was at risk of attacks by rogue clerics calling for vigilante justice; more than 50 people charged with blasphemy have been murdered there.
Bibi, now in her 50s, is a mother of five, and two of her daughters had already moved to Canada for asylum. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wishes Bibi “all the best” after being “safely reunited with her family,” CNN reported.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which has advocated for Bibi, stated that while they celebrate for her and her family, they acknowledge the ongoing threats.
“Today is also a day tinged with great sadness as we remember those others who are still incarcerated or unjustly accused under the Blasphemy Laws today, as well as those who sacrificed so much for Asia Bibi,” said Neville Kyrke-Smith, ACN’s UK national director. “Our prayers and our work will continue in commitment to help all those who are unjustly accused by radical fundamentalists and who cannot practice their Christian faith freely.”
Bibi’s case, which made it all the way to the country’s Supreme Court, stems from an alleged incident in 2009, when she got in a dispute with two Muslim coworkers who refused to take water from her since she was Christian. Afterward, she had been accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.
As CT has reported over the years, the case was particularly contentious in Pakistan, an Islamic Republic with a Christian minority of less than 2 percent (also among the worst-ranked countries in the world for persecution).