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Reports of Aasia Bibi leaving Pakistan ‘fake news’: Foreign Office 

Islamabad/Lahore, November 8

Pakistani authorities on Thursday rejected as “fake news” reports that a Christian woman who was released from a jail a week after the Supreme Court overturned her conviction and death sentence for blasphemy has left for the Netherlands.

Aasia Bibi, 47, acquitted in the blasphemy case was released, amid nationwide anger, from the jail in Multan on Wednesday midnight.

It was reported in local media that she was taken to Noor Khan Airbase Rawalpindi, from where she would be shifted to the Netherlands.

“Aasia Bibi was released from New Jail for Women Multan (some 350 kilometers from Lahore) on Wednesday midnight. She is taken to Noor Khan Airbase Rawalpindi where a chartered plane will take her to Netherlands,” 24News reported on Thursday.

Some other news channels also reported the release of Aasia Bibi and her departure for Netherlands. 

However, Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said there was no truth that the mother of five had left the country.

“There is no truth in reports about Bibi leaving the country — it is fake news,” he said.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also rejected the reports about her going out of the country.

“It has become a norm to publish fake news for sake of headlines, #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,” he said.

Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) of Khadim Hussain Rizvi spokesperson Hafiz Shahbaz Attari issued a statement to media saying “the Imran Khan government has released Aasia Bibi as the Netherlands ambassador in Islamabad reached Multan jail along with the government officials to ensure her release. She is being transported to Netherlands.”   

He said a call has been given to the workers who are gathering in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to stop the government to allow Aasia leave the country.

The apex court verdict on Bibi prompted immediate anger from an Islamist party that has threatened to paralyse daily life countrywide with street protests if her acquittal is not reversed.

A spokesman for the Punjab government however refused to comment.    

“The government cannot give any comment on this matter,” a spokesman for the Punjab government told media.

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