Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has said talks are underway with Pakistan over Asia Bibi, a Christian woman whose acquittal on blasphemy charges against Islam last month sparked mass protests in the South Asian country. “We are in discussions with the Pakistani government,” Trudeau said in an interview with Agence France Presse in Paris, where he attended an anniversary event marking the end of world war one. His comments were confirmed by a spokesman in Ottawa. “There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don’t want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country,” he said. Bibi, who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan before being released, is in protective custody because her life is in danger from those who disagree with the acquittal. Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, has appealed for help to Britain, Canada, Italy and the United States. Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has urged the UK to give Bibi asylum. In a letter to his successor, Jeremy Hunt, and home secretary Sajid Javid he is reported to have said: “We cannot allow the threat of violence to deter us from doing the right thing. I do not think it is a dignified position for the UK, given our historic links with Pakistan and the extent of our influence there, to look to others to do what we are allegedly nervous to do ourselves.” The release of Asia Bibi is a small step towards a more open While AFP said Canada’s discussions were about potentially offering Bibi and her family asylum, this was not confirmed by the spokesman in Ottawa. Islamists have threatened to escalate protests in Pakistan if Bibi is allowed to leave the country. Islamabad has indicated it will bar her from travelling abroad. Last week, Canada urged Pakistan to ensure Bibi’s wellbeing and foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said the government was “extremely engaged in this issue”. Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim. They said she made derogatory remarks about Islam. She is a Protestant and denies committing blasphemy. Islamists shut down roads in major cities in Pakistan during three days of demonstrations against Bibi’s acquittal at the end of last month. Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Mulook, fled to the Netherlands earlier this week because of fears for the safety of his family. The release of Asia Bibi is a small step towards a more open While AFP said Canada’s discussions were about potentially offering Bibi and her family asylum, this was not confirmed by the spokesman in Ottawa. Islamists have threatened to escalate protests in Pakistan if Bibi is allowed to leave the country. Islamabad has indicated it will bar her from travelling abroad. Last week, Canada urged Pakistan to ensure Bibi’s wellbeing and foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said the government was “extremely engaged in this issue” Three years ago, we knew we had to try to make The Guardian sustainable by deepening our relationship with our readers. The revenues from our newspaper had diminished and the technologies that connected us with a global audience had moved advertising money away from news organisations. We knew we needed to find a way to keep our journalism open and accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. And so, we have an update for you on some good news. Thanks to all the readers who have supported our independent, investigative journalism through contributions, membership or subscriptions, we are starting to overcome the urgent financial situation we were faced with. Today we have been supported by more than a million readers around the world. Our future is starting to look brighter. But we have to maintain and build on that level of support for every year to come, which means we still need to ask for your help. Ongoing financial support from our readers means we can continue pursuing difficult stories in the challenging times we are living through, when factual reporting has never been more critical. The Guardian is editorially independent — our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. This is important because it enables us to challenge the powerful and hold them to account. With your support, we can continue bringing The Guardian’s independent journalism to the world. Published in Daily Times, November 14th 2018.