Early Thursday morning, private TV channels in Pakistan and international media outlets began reporting that Aasia Bibi, the recently acquitted woman in a blasphemy case, has been released from jail and has been flown out of the country.
It began when a reporter from the BBC, Secunder Kermani quoted Aasia Bibi’s lawyer in saying that she was freed from a prison in Multan and is on her way to another country. Shortly afterwards, he said that there were contradictory reports coming in and she may in fact, still be in Pakistan.
Pakistanis woke up to denials made by the government, refuting these ‘rumours’.
Read: ‘Thank you, Jesus’: Pakistani Christians breathe sigh of relief following Aasia Bibi’s acquittal
Information Minister Fawad Hussain criticized the media for ‘publishing fake news for the sake of headlines’.
“It has become a norm to publish fake news for sake of headlines, Asia Bibi case is sensitive issue it was extremely irresponsible to publish news of her leaving the country,” he said.
According to several international media outlets which include the BBC, DW News and the Guardian, Aasia has been released from jail and has been transferred to a safe, undisclosed location in Pakistan. Aasia Bibi’s family has also applied for asylum in Western countries while European Union is working to move her out of Pakistan.
“Officials said that she left a detention facility in the Punjab province amid tight security on Wednesday and was flown to Islamabad, where she was at a secure location because of threats to her life,” Guardian reported on Thursday.