ISLAMABAD — The Christian woman freed by Pakistan’s Supreme Court three months after acquitting her on a blasphemy charge has been transferred from her previous location near the capital by security forces, unable to leave Pakistan to join her daughters in Canada, a friend said Saturday.

Asia Bibi is still being held by security forces in southern Karachi without explanation. Associated Press photo

Aman Ullah, who said he spoke to Asia Bibi by telephone Friday, said the 54-year-old Bibi is being held in a room in southern Karachi. He said Bibi, who spent eight years on death row, is frustrated and frightened, uncertain of when she will be able to leave Pakistan.

“She has no indication of when she will leave … they are not telling her why she cannot leave,” said Ullah, who fled the country Friday after receiving threats from religious radicals angered by his assistance to Bibi, which began while she was on death row.

Ullah has been a liaison between Bibi and European diplomats, who have sought to assist her. The Associated Press also spoke to Bibi by telephone following her October acquittal with the assistance of Ullah.

Bibi’s ordeal began in 2009 when two fellow farmworkers refused to drink from the same container as a Christian woman. There was a quarrel and the two Muslim women later accused Bibi of blasphemy. The Supreme Court on Oct. 31 last year, however, acquitted Bibi and last month the high court rejected an appeal by a radical religious party to review her acquittal. The Supreme Court judges charged there were widespread inconsistencies in the testimony against Bibi, saying had the case not been so sensitive the accusers would face perjury charges. Bibi has steadfastly maintained her innocence. That court decision should have given Bibi her freedom, but Ullah said diplomats were told that her departure from Pakistan, where she feels her life would be in danger, would come not in the “short term but in the medium term,” Ullah said.

He said Bibi told him she is locked in one room of a house.

“The door opens at food time only,” said Ullah, and she is allowed to make phone calls in the morning and again at night. He said she usually calls her daughters.

There was no immediate response from the government but Bibi’s case has brought international attention to Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law, which carries an automatic death sentence for a conviction of insulting Islam. However, there have been widespread complaints that the law is used to settle scores and that it targets the country’s minorities, including Shiite Muslims.

The mere suggestion of blasphemy can incite mobs to kill. After Bibi’s October acquittal, the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik party called its followers onto the streets where they protested for three days demanding Bibi’s immediate execution as well as the death of the judges who acquitted her.

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