islamabad: Asia Bibi, the Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death row for blasphemy, plans to leave Pakistan, her family said.Asia remained at an undisclosed location on Thursday, where the mother(54) of five was being held for security reasons, awaiting her formal release, her brother, James Masih said.
The development followed a landmark move by the Supreme Court on Wednesday that overturned the 2010 conviction against her, Dawn reported. He said Asia simply would not be safe in Pakistan. “She has no other option and she will leave the country soon,” he said. Masih would not disclose the country of her destination but both France and Spain have offered asylum.
Asia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, had returned from Britain with their children in mid-October and was waiting for her to join them, the brother added.
The family is in hiding for fear of attacks by those angry at the court’s ruling, and still waiting to be reunited with Aasia.“You know my two youngest daughters were below age of 10 when their mother went away ... They don’t remember spending much time with her,” Ashiq said.
The family has four daughters and one son, he said. “We are thankful to the court that it decided the case considering us human beings instead of any discrimination on the base of faith or religion.” He said Aasia, who is about 50, has not been released from prison pending arrangements for her safety.
“She can’t be safe here,” brother-in-law Nadeem said. “You know what’s going on outside. We want things to settle down before we go ahead for her release.”With Asia soon to be free, her family is struggling to make plans. They would prefer to leave the country to be safe, but there are plans in place.
“We haven’t got any contact yet either from Pakistani authorities or anyone from outside,” Nadeem said.Yet, Ashiq Masih said he would be sad to be forced to leave his homeland. “We’re also part of Pakistan,” he said. “This is our country. We love it.”(UNI)