Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has said that talks are underway with Pakistan over Asia Bibi, a Christian woman whose acquittal on blasphemy case against Islam last month caused mass protests in Pakistan for about three days.
History of Asiya’s Arrest :
It all started when Noreen aka Asiya Bibi was accused of blasphemy after an argument with co-workers in a crop field. She got arrested and imprisoned after hearings. Lahore High Court received worldwide attention. Lahore High Court sentenced her to death by hanging.
Petitions for Asiya: Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
Many organizations such as Voice of the Martyrs, the one that received 400,000 signatures, and Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis created many petitions for her release and called for the dismissal of charges.
Difficult times for Asiya’s Family: Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
Asiya’s family faced a difficult time hiding after receiving death threats, some of which threatened to kill Asiya Bibi and her husband if they release from prison.
The verdict of the Supreme court in Asiya’s case
Finally, these petitions and unity of Christians bore fruit and on 31 October 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Asiya citing “material contradictions and inconsistent statements of the witnesses”. Moreover “cast a shadow of doubt on the prosecution’s version of facts.”
Protests against Supreme Court’s Acquit: Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
The decision sparked protests headed by extremist parties in major cities of the country.
Appeal for refuge: Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, has appealed for help to Britain, Canada, Italy and the United States. Bibi, who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan before being released. She is in protective custody because her life is in danger from those who disagree with the acquittal.
The safe haven for Asiya
Various countries are trying to provide a safe haven to Asiya and in this regard, Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has urged the UK to give Bibi asylum.
Canada Officials: Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
Canada is really looking forward to providing shelter to Asiya and her family. Government officials of both countries are seriously engaged in this matter. Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said the government was “extremely engaged in this issue”.
Justin Trudeau Affirms Canadian PM Talks with Pakistan over Asiya Bibi.
Trudeau affirms in an interview in Paris, France, “We are in discussions with the Pakistani government. A spokesman in Ottawa confirmed his comments. Trudeau moreover says that Canada is a welcoming country and we can see through various examples.
Canada’s Ranking as Fifth as happiest place:
Canada ranks fifth as one of the world’s happiest places. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, it ranks 8th as a destination of choice for asylum seekers. United States, France, and Germany taking the top spots. But discussions for Asiya’s refuge is appearing most promising by Canada.
Point to ponder is when will South Asian countries be really free of such matters. Matters indulged with religion extremities and when will rule of law be prevailed. Accusations against blasphemy in Islam have a penalty only if proven but the chaos over just unproven accusations and the protests result in unbearable losses for a country. The need of the hour is to be united on a platform to avoid such hassle for future and there must be a key role to be played by Government officials and people of authority.