Canada con­firms it is in talks with Pak­istan over Asia Bibi

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said on Mon­day talks were un­der­way with Pak­istan over a Pak­istani Chris­tian woman whose ac­quit­tal on blas­phemy charges against Is­lam last month sparked days of protests in the South Asian coun­try.

Asia Bibi, who spent eight years on death row in Pak­istan be­fore be­ing re­leased, is in pro­tec­tive cus­tody be­cause her life is in dan­ger from those who dis­agree with the ac­quit­tal.

“We are in dis­cus­sions with the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment,” Trudeau said in an in­ter­view with Agence France Presse in Paris, where he at­tended a cer­e­mony mark­ing the end of World War I. His com­ments were con­firmed by a spokesper­son in Ot­tawa.

“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 added.

On Tues­day, Pak­istan’s for­eign min­istry said Bibi’s sit­u­a­tion was dis­cussed when For­eign Min­is­ter Shah Mah­mood Qureshi was called by his Cana­dian coun­ter­part the pre­vi­ous day.

“For­eign Min­is­ter Qureshi said Asia Bibi is our na­tional and Pak­istan fully re­spects her le­gal rights,” min­istry spokesman Mo­ham­mad Faisal said on so­cial net­work Twit­ter.

On Tues­day, the ul­tra-Is­lamist Tehreek-e-Labaik Pak­istan (TLP) party that led the protests said it strictly op­posed her re­lease and any per­mis­sion for her to go abroad.

“It is a stance of the mil­lions of Pak­istani Mus­lims,” TLP spokesper­son Ejaz Ashrafi told Reuters.

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