Canadian PM Trudeau Says In Talks With Pakistan Over Asia Bibi

Pakistani protesters burn a poster image of Christian woman Aasia Bibi in Hyderabad Pakistan. Pakistan's government struggling with a crisis surrounding Bibi — a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy charges aft

Asia Bibi, a Christian, was sentenced to death eight years ago for blasphemy after being convicted of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad - a charge her family has denied.

Aasia Bibi has been "taken under protection" by the Pakistani state after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of protests by religio-political groups.

While AFP said the discussions were about potentially offering Bibi and her family asylum, this was not confirmed by the spokesman in Ottawa. The government has indicated it would bar her from travelling overseas.

Bibi is now hiding at an undisclosed "safe place".

Her lawyer, Saif ul-Malook, who has fled to the Netherlands following violent protests in Pakistan, told the BBC on Tuesday that she was yet to be offered a visa to any Western country, which remained the only impediment to her ability to leave Pakistan safely.

The court overturned her conviction on the grounds there was not enough evidence to support it.

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Hard-line Islamists in Pakistan have blocked streets and called for the killing of several people connected with the Bibi case, including the judges who acquitted her.

In a second tweet, the FO spokesperson added: "FM Qureshi said that Aasia Bibi is our national and Pakistan fully respects her legal rights".

This public call from progressive Muslim community activists and thinkers, urging Mr Javid to come to Asia Bibi's aid, is a clear indication, if ever there needed to be one, that there is no such thing as a single "community" with a single point of view.

They and others - often quietly - seek to demolish the extremist world view that human rights - such as freedom of speech and choice in religion - are somehow incompatible with Islam. "I am well aware, as a former Foreign Secretary, of the constant threat to our overseas missions, but we can not allow the threat of violence to deter us from doing the right thing", he wrote in the letter seen by The Daily Telegraph. "And that's why I think it's absolutely right and proper that we should give her asylum".

Rehman Chishti, the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Pakistan since 2017, also told the BBC that the United Kingdom had a "moral obligation to give sanctuary" to someone who had been "persecuted for their faith but whose life is in grave danger".

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