PARIS: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 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.
“We are in discussions with the Pakistani government,” Trudeau said in an interview with AFP in Paris, where he was attending a peace conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron.
“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,” he said.
Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the overturning of her conviction by the Supreme Court prompted a wave of protests across the country.
She has since been flown to a “safe place” in the country as several governments have offered to grant her family asylum.
Her husband has appealed in particular to Britain, Canada and the United States, claiming that Bibi’s life would be in danger as long as she lived in Pakistan.
Aasia was convicted of blasphemy by a lower court and sentenced to death by hanging in 2010, and the conviction was upheld by the Lahore High Court. However, the Supreme Court acquitted her last month on the basis of insufficient evidence. This triggered countrywide protest sit-ins by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan. The sit-ins were called off only after the government and the protesters reached a five-point deal.