Canada is Asia Bibi's 'most likely destination', says her lawyer
After spending Christmas in hiding, the lawyer for Asia Bibi is hoping she and her family will soon be able to leave Pakistan.
Bibi has been in hiding since her release last November after the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned her death sentence for blasphemy.
Her family has looked to Western countries for asylum but after several months, a formal offer has still not been made.
The situation remains precarious for Bibi as a review petition against her acquittal was due to be considered by the courts this month.
There were also fears that she would be prevented from leaving the country after hardliners put pressure on the Pakistani government.
Her lawyer, Saif ul Malook, is optimistic that an offer of asylum will be made soon and that Bibi and her family will be able to start a new life outside of Pakistan, where hardliners are still calling for her execution.
'Prime Minister Imran Khan's government appears determined to ensure the safety of Asia and her husband, Ashiq Masih, and the couple's two daughters, until another country agrees to take them in. Canada is their most likely destination,' he said in an opinion piece for the Washington Post.
He added that starting life in a new country would come with its own challenges for Bibi.
'Asia had rarely ventured far from her village before being imprisoned, so beginning a new life in another country would be a challenge for her,' he said.
'But she has shown remarkable strength throughout this ordeal, and I am confident that she will succeed.'
Ul Malook fled to the Netherlands after her acquittal out of fear for his life and he thinks he will have to stay there for at least two years before it is safe to return.
Although life in the Netherlands is safer for him, he said he wants to return so he can help more people in Pakistan facing similar blasphemy charges.
'Until then, I will live with friends in the Netherlands or with my daughter in Britain. But I yearn to return home to continue defending victims of the blasphemy laws,' he said.