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Asia Bibi will soon leave the country: PM Khan


News Desk |

Prime Minister Imran Khan during an interview with BBC on Tuesday has said that Asia Bibi is fine and will be leaving the country soon.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was accused of blasphemy and was sentenced to death by hanging in 2010. Pakistan’s Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn her conviction and death sentence in January 2019, but she is yet to leave Pakistan.

Mr. Khan told the BBC that she would be departing the country “very soon”. “There is a little bit of a complication. And I can’t speak on the media about [it],” he said. “But I can assure you she is safe and she will be leaving in weeks.”

The premier denied that Pakistan is allowing militant Islamic groups to operate from its territory. “If India and Pakistan can find that [solution to Kashmir conflict]”, he said, everything else could be sorted out easily.

Commenting about Pak-India relations, Prime Minister Khan told the BBC that peace with India over the disputed the territory of Kashmir would be “tremendous” for the wider region.

The comments come as India prepares to vote in a general election, weeks after an upsurge of violence in Kashmir. A suicide attack against Indian forces triggered cross-border air strikes.

Asked what message he wanted to send to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his country, Mr. Khan told the BBC’s John Simpson that the Kashmir issue “has to be settled” and “cannot keep boiling like it is.”

Read more: Fact-check: Did Aasia Bibi meet the Pope?

“The number-one task of the two governments is how we are going to reduce poverty and the way we reduce poverty is by settling our differences through dialogue and there is only one the difference – which is Kashmir,” he said.

India’s prime minister has used anti-Pakistan rhetoric and stressed national-security themes during his re-election campaign. Mr. Khan also spoke about the dangers of confrontation between the two neighbors. “Once you respond, no-one can predict where it can go from there,” he said.

If India had “come back and then again attacked Pakistan, Pakistan would have no choice but to respond,” he added. “So in that situation, two nuclear-armed countries, I just felt it was very irresponsible.”

Read more: Should Asia Bibi be given asylum? Top Pakistani Judge says NO

The premier denied that Pakistan is allowing militant Islamic groups to operate from its territory. “If India and Pakistan can find that [solution to Kashmir conflict]”, he said, everything else could be sorted out easily.

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