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Netherlands Sends Pakistani Embassy Staff Home After Receiving Threats

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Rotterdam in Netherlands

Rotterdam in Netherlands. Photo: neufal54 (Pixabay).

The Netherlands says it has recalled staff from its embassy in Pakistan after receiving threats for providing shelter to the lawyer of a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy.

“Unfortunately, threats have been made against the Netherlands, Dutch diplomats,” Foreign Minister Stef Blok told NPO radio on November 12. He said “a large number of staff” returned to the Netherlands.

The lawyer, Saiful Mulook, cited death threats in fleeing to the Netherlands soon after the Pakistani Supreme Court decision on October 31 acquitting Asia Bibi of blasphemy. The Dutch government said it had offered him temporary shelter.

Hard-line Islamists in Pakistan have blocked streets and called for the killing of several people connected with the Bibi case, including the judges who acquitted her.

Last week, the Dutch Embassy in Pakistan said it had temporarily halted issuing visas “due to circumstances beyond our control.”

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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