There have been major speculations surrounding Asiya Bibi, originally Aasiya Noreen by name, and her whereabouts after her lawyer Saiful Malook left Pakistan last Saturday.
Earlier today, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had stated that Asiya Bibi, who was acquitted by the Pakistan Supreme Court in a blasphemy case last month, is still in Pakistan. However, per confirmed sources, it has been understood that Asiya Bibi had already left Pakistan and has now reached a safe haven in Europe, where she has been offered political immunity. Reports suggest that she had been able to fly out to Europe via a chartered airplane.
Asiya Bibi, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 in a blasphemy case for her alleged comments against Prophet Mohammed during an argument with three Muslim women, was released following the ruling in her favor on October 31. A three-judge special bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, had heard Asiya’s appeal made in 2014 against her conviction and death sentence and had asked her to be set free. However, this ruling did not go well with many sections and mass protests had erupted in various parts of Pakistan. Earlier, Asiya Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Malook had left Pakistan early Saturday morning fearing for his safety. Expressing difficulty in continuing his practice in the prevailing violent situation, Malook claimed that he is facing threat from a section of lawyers but stated that he could return to Pakistan to represent Asiya in the hearing of her case’s review petition, provided he and his family are given security by the Pakistan Army.
It is to be noted that Asiya Bibi was a daily labor and not a writer nor an activist. Even if she had made any derogatory comment on Prophet Muhammad, it was probably just a result of a quarrel between uneducated people. Asia Bibi is no asset to the Westerners not she is a powerful tool like Malala Yousafzai, yet strangely Western media unnecessarily gave her such publicity for their own vested interest. At the same time, it was extremely unwise for Pakistani authorities in bringing such strong charges of blasphemy against her too. There are probably thousands of Asiya Bibi in South Asia and the world who abuse other religions while quarreling when being drunk etc or other situations and it was a case of making unnecessary hue and cry. Although as she got acquitted from the Supreme Court, it is not crystal clear that the entire episode of blasphemy charges was just an act of madness of the Pakistani authorities or with some strong intentions to prove a point.
Following her acquittal, Asiya’s husband started demanding asylum in the US, showing that they actually are opportunists. In fact, Asiya’s husband had earlier called upon the UK and Canada for help too. As such Several European countries including Netherlands, Italy, and the UK had offered to help Asiya Bibi.
Western media and rights groups should actually ignore such very minor matters. They should give exposure to individuals who are genuinely doing something against radical Islam or any radical right wing of any religion.