Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi has left the country - lawyer and media


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row over false blasphemy charges, Asia Bibi, has left the country, her lawyer and media said on Wednesday, more than six months after she was acquitted by Pakistan's top court.

"I have inquired within available channels, and according to them she has left for Canada," Bibi's lawyer, Saif Ul Malook told Reuters.

Pakistani TV channels Geo and ARY, citing unidentified sources, also reported Bibi had left the country.

Pakistan's foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Bibi's release in October sparked rioting by hardline Islamists, who rejected the Supreme Court's verdict and warned Prime Minister Imran Khan's government that she must not be allowed to leave the country.

They also called for Bibi, who has been staying at an undisclosed location under tight security, to be killed.

In November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was in talks with Pakistan about helping Bibi.

Bibi, a farm worker and a mother of four, was convicted in 2010 of making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours working in the fields with her objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

Her case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help her were assassinated, including Punjab province governor Salman Taseer, who was shot by his own bodyguard.

(Additional reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Robert Birsel)