Aasia needs German passport to leave Pakistan: lawyer

Updated November 21, 2018

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Aasia Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Mulook, accompanied by Missio Catholic spokesman Johannes Seiberl and his long-time friend Amjad Ahmad, speaks during a press conference on Tuesday.—AFP
Aasia Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Mulook, accompanied by Missio Catholic spokesman Johannes Seiberl and his long-time friend Amjad Ahmad, speaks during a press conference on Tuesday.—AFP

FRANKFURT: The lawyer for Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother who was acquitted of a blasphemy charge, has appealed to Germany to give citizenship to her whole family so that they start a new life in Europe.

Saiful Mulook told a news conference in Frankfurt on Tuesday that Aasia was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan last month but she and her family needed a passport to leave the country.

Aasia, 53, was convicted of a blasphemy charge in 2010 over allegations that she made derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

“The whole world is asking why she’s not coming,” Mr Mulook told reporters. “The answer is first that to leave a country you need a visa or you require a passport of another country,” he added.

Also read: Aasia is in Pakistan, won’t leave till end of legal process: minister

“If the German chancellor directs her ambassador to give a passport to her, her husband and her two daughters conferring German nationality, nobody can stop her for one second,” he said, regretting that so far no government had come forward to support her in such an open and free manner.

He said another wife of Aasia’s husband and her three daughters were not seeking to leave Pakistan with her.

It was unclear why citizenship, rather than a visa, was necessary for her to leave Pakistan, though Mr Mulook said pressure from religious extremists was making it harder for Islamabad to arrange her departure. She and her family are reportedly staying at a safe house in Pakistan despite offers of asylum from countries, including Canada.

German officials have said that they and a number of other countries are in talks with Aasia’s family and the Pakistani government to find a way out.

Mr Mulook, who himself sought refuge in the Netherlands after being threatened by some extremist groups for pleading her case, told the media that Aasia had no preference as to which country she along with her family would travel for asylum. The German government had no immediate comment on the request for a passport.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018