Unverified and unsubstantiated rumours flew thick and fast in Pakistan as the nation is still struggling to come to terms with the historic Supreme Court decision to acquit a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy.
There were reports in Pakistani media that Asia Bibi was released from a jail in Multan and the process was on to shift her to the Netherlands.
However, government spokesperson urged caution and appealed the press to exercise restraint.
“Let me state clearly that Asia Bibi remains at a safe place in Pakistan. I would also request all of you, urge all of you, to verify such news before issuing them, in line with the standards of objective and impartial journalism to prevent needless sensationalism and controversy.”
Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours. She always maintained her innocence, but has spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.
Hardliners in Pakistan have protested against the sc order and demanded that she be not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The release of Asia Bibi, prompted immediate anger from a hard-line Islamist party that has threatened to paralyze daily life countrywide with street protests if her acquittal is not reversed.
The case has outraged people worldwide, and Pope Francis met Bibi’s family this year, saying he prayed for her. Italy said on Tuesday it would try to help Bibi, who is Catholic, to leave Pakistan.