LAHORE: The lawyer for a Christian woman acquitted by the Supreme Court in Pakistan’s most high-profile blasphemy case on Thursday denied making a formal request for political asylum in The Netherlands, hours after the Dutch government offered him temporary asylum in the country.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, in a tweet, said that the European country has offered Aasia Bibi’s lawyer, Advocate Saiful Mulook “a place in the Shelter City program in the Netherlands for human rights defenders at risk”.
” The situation of Asia Bibi has our full attention,” he added.
However, talking to Pakistan Today, Mulook said that the asylum offer was made by the Dutch government and he had not made any specific request for refuge.
“It is up to them [the Dutch govt] to decide,” Mulook said, adding that he was being hosted by a Dutch Christian rights outfit and they would handle the matter.
About Aasia Bibi’s whereabouts, Mulook said he was unaware of her whereabouts. “I only know that she was flown out of Multan after her release from prison,” he said.
On Thursday, the Foreign Office rejected reports that Aasia Bibi and her family had been flown out of Pakistan to some European country soon after her release from Multan prison on Wednesday night.
FO Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Aasia was in protective custody of the Interior Ministry but there is no bar on her free movement.
“Aasia Bibi is a free citizen. After the court’s verdict, she can go wherever she wants. There is no restriction on the mobility of a free citizen,” said Dr Faisal, adding that only the Interior Ministry or the law could specify if legally her name could be placed on the Exit Control List.