THE HAGUE: The lawyer, who saved Aasia Bibi convicted of blasphemy from death row, disclosed on Monday that the UN and EU made him leave the country “against my wishes” because his life was at risk.
Saiful Mulook, who has fled to the Netherlands, said he contacted a United Nations official in Islamabad after violence erupted following the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Aasia Bibi on Wednesday.
“And then they (the UN) and the European nation ambassadors in Islamabad, they kept me for three days and then put me on a plane against my wishes,” the lawyer told a press conference in The Hague.
“I pressed them that I would not leave the country unless I get Aasia out of the prison... I am not happy to be here without her, but everybody said that you are the prime target at the moment and the whole world is taking care of Aasia Bibi.
“They were of the view that I was the prime target to be killed, and that my life was in imminent danger. For three days they did not let me open the door, one day I called the French ambassador and said I do not want to be here.” The lawyer had previously said before his departure on Saturday that he was leaving because “in the current scenario, it’s not possible for me to live in Pakistan”.
Mr Mulook arrived in The Hague at the weekend after a short stopover in Rome, with the help of the HVC Foundation, a Dutch group that focuses on the human rights of Christian minorities.
The government struck a deal with the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) group after its supporters blocked main roads in major Pakistani cities in protest against the court judgement.
Mr Mulook dismissed the deal as a “face-saving” exercise for the TLP and insisted that Aasia would “100 per cent” be freed soon.
“This compromise is nothing but a piece of paper that can be thrown in the dustbin,” he said.
It was not clear whether Aasia had had any firm offers of asylum if she left Pakistan, added the lawyer, who said he was “legally authorised” to choose a country for her.
The lawyer said a UN official in Pakistan told him “we are taking care of her” but that “when I said which country, they said we can’t say.
“I asked the French ambassador `would your country be willing to offer asylum to Aasia Bibi. He said if you request us legally, I said ‘OK I request her’.”
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018