Foreign media claims, Pakistan authorities deny having sent Asia Bibi out of country

Foreign media claims, Pakistan authorities deny having sent Asia Bibi out of country

Information Minister claims majority of stories about Asia Bibi are based on speculations

ISLAMABAD: Contradictory reports and stories about Asia Bibi’s exit from the country kept pouring in all Thursday and ultimately Foreign Office spokesperson had to issue a formal statement denying all such news stories and reports.

Bibi who was acquitted on the orders of the Supreme Court is very much in Pakistan and there is no truth in reports of her leaving the country immediately after the acquittal, stated Dr Muhammad Faisal, while responding to the media queries.

Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Malook had a day earlier on Wednesday in an interview with the foreign media had claimed Bibi was no more in the country and had left for unknown destination after release from a Pakistani jail.

After the interview, majority of the foreign media channels started running stories about Bibi’s exit from the country prompting the government authorities to intervene and declare all such news unverified and fake.

A statement by the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also came at the heels of the foreign office spokesperson’s declaration in which Chaudhry had regretted such reports related to possible exit of Asia Bibi’s exit from the country.

On his Twitter account, Fawad Chaudhry posted “It has become a norm to publish fake news for sake of headlines,” Chaudhry said on Twitter. “#AsiaBibi case is sensitive issue; it was extremely irresponsible to publish news of her leaving the country without confirmation. I strongly urge section of media to act responsible.”

Chaudhry has also appealed to the media to avoid running such irresponsible news as it might hurt religious groups’ sentiments.

A number of European countries and human rights organisations have already expressed their concern over the safety and security of Bibi and her family in Pakistan.

Italy government has even offered to provide all necessary assistance to Bibi and her family in leaving Pakistan as Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih in an interview with a foreign news agency expressed fears his family could be killed by those who staged violent protest for nearly three days and plundered the government and private properties in reaction to a Supreme Court’s Oct 31 judgement of acquitting Asia Bibi from charges of blasphemy.

According to the Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman, Bibi is a free citizen and after the court’s verdict, she can go wherever she wants.

There is no restriction on the mobility of a free citizen he further said. However, contrary to his statement, the government is keeping a mum on her whereabouts as according to reports she was flown from Multan prison to Islamabad a day earlier and is being kept at an unknown destination.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s top court has also taken notice of the huge losses incurred by the violent protesters in the wake of Bibi’s acquittal by the apex court. The court has taken the notice to ascertain the estimate of losses and compensate the victims who lost their valuables or properties during the tragic incidents, says a spokesperson of the court.

The chief justice has directed the federal and provincial governments to furnish within three days their reports detailing the estimated losses.