The Foreign Office and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry today denied reports that Asia Bibi had been released from prison and left Pakistan.
Earlier, multiple sources had claimed that Asia – the Christian woman accused of blasphemy and acquitted last week by the Supreme Court – had left Pakistan and flown to an as yet unknown country.
Several media outlets including BBC News had published stories about Asia Bibi’s release from a Multan jail, even going as far as to claim that she had flown out in a special plane from Nur Khan Air Base in Islamabad.
According to AFP, Asia Bibi’s lawyer had confirmed that she had left the country after being released late Wednesday night.
Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament, tweeted the news saying “Asia Bibi has left the prison and is being transferred to a safe place.”
The government did not release a statement with some speculating they are waiting for the appropriate time to counter the expected backlash from religious parties, including the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), who had staged sit-ins throughout Pakistan last week.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said the news was “fake news” and criticized the media publishing it without confirmation owing to the sensitive nature of the case.