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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Tuesday denied that it had forced the lawyer of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been acquitted by the Supreme Court in a blasphemy case, to leave Pakistan.

Saif-ul-Malook fled to the Netherlands from Pakistan after violence erupted over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the conviction of Aasia Bibi who was on death row.

“The UN in Pakistan extended its assistance to Mr Malook at his request and did not force him to leave the country against his wishes, nor can the UN force someone to leave Pakistan against his or her will,” said UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko.

At a news conference in The Hague on Monday, the lawyer said he was “put on a plane against my wishes” even though he had refused to leave the country without ensuring that his client was out of prison.

Mr Malook said he contacted a UN official in Islamabad after the outbreak of clashes. “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,” he said.

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”.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2018

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