On Monday that his Government was holding talks with Pakistan over potentially offering asylum to Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
“We are in discussions with the Pakistani Government,” Trudeau said in an interview with AFP in Paris, while he was in a peace conference organized by French President Emmanuel Macron.
He said “There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don’t want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country.”
Asia Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the upending of her conviction provoked a wave of protests by religio-political groups.
She has since been flown to a safe place in the country as several Governments have offered her to grant family asylum.
There has been appealed by her husband specifically to Britain, Canada and the United States, claiming that Asia’s life could be in danger as long as she lived in Pakistan.
The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other religio-political parties had launched countrywide protests after the Supreme Court acquitted her; who had been on a death row for the past eight years on blasphemy charges.
And three days later, the Government and the TLP had signed a contract to conclude the latter’s protest. One of the main concessions the Government agreed to was to “initiate the legal process” to place Asia Bibi’s name on the exit control list (ECL).
It was also assured by the Government to the party that it would not oppose a review appeal filed against the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Asia Bibi blasphemy case. The state further promised to take suitable legal action to adjust any deaths that may have occurred during the protests against the Asia Bibi decision and to release all people picked up in connection with the protests starting October 30.
In turn, the TLP only offered an apology “if it hurt the sentiments or inconvenienced anyone without reason.”