Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy in Canada

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 30, 2013 at 10:54 pm •  Published: June 30, 2013
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OTTAWA (AP) — A Christian girl who was accused of burning Islam's holy book in a case that focused international attention on Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws is now in Canada with her family after spending months in hiding, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said.

The girl was arrested in August in Islamabad after a Muslim cleric accused her of burning the Quran. The cleric was later accused of fabricating evidence, and the girl was acquitted.

Kenney said he'd been following the case and was prompted to act when a Pakistani contact asked him in January whether the family could come to Canada.

"I said absolutely, if they could get her out," Kenney told The Canadian Press on Sunday. "So a number of people did some very dangerous, delicate work to extricate her and her family from Pakistan, and we provided the necessary visas."

The girl's lawyer on Saturday said she was in Canada, but Canada's immigration service at first said privacy concerns prevented them from saying whether she was in the country.

Kenney said he has instructed immigration officials to process their applications for permanent residency under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.