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US lawmaker seeks asylum for Aasia

WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to grant asylum to Aasia Bibi, arguing that she should be allowed to be settled in the United States because she has been allegedly persecuted for being a Christian.

Aasia Bibi was arrested in 2009 for allegedly using blasphemous words during a quarrel with other women of her village in Nankana.

“The recent decision by Pakistan’s top court to overturn Aasia’s death sentence and free her from jail is obviously welcome news,” observed Congressman Ken Calvert, a California Republican.

On Tuesday, a three-member Supreme Court bench threw out a petition seeking a review of its earlier decision to acquit 47-year-old Aasia Bibi. She was falsely accused of committing blasphemy, the court concluded. Mr Calvert said he had decided to move the resolution after receiving several letters from his constituents expressing their desire to move Aasia Bibi to a safe place.

“Aasia continues to be in danger and is the subject of incendiary rhetoric by radical Islamist leaders,” he said. “That’s why it’s essential for Congress and other defenders of religious freedom to stand up and protect her.”

Media reports suggest that Aasia Bibi may leave the country shortly. Her two daughters have already shifted to Canada.

Officials in Islamabad told reporters on Thursday that Aasia Bibi was a free citizen and had the right to travel anywhere inside the country or abroad.

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