Islamabad, Sep 3 : Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was cleared by the country's Supreme Court of blasphemy charges last year after spending eight years on death row, has expressed her gratitude to the top court and the international forces who helped her achieve freedom, a media report said on Tuesday.
In her first print interview nearly four months after her release, Bibi told British daily, The Sunday Telegraph that she had at times fallen into despair as she languished in a death row cell over a trumped-up charge of blasphemy, The Express Tribune reported.
"My whole life suffered, my children suffered and this had a huge impact on my life," she told the daily.
While she expressed relief over her acquittal and consequent freedom, Bibi said there were many others in Pakistan who also needed fair trials.
Following her acquittal, Bibi left Pakistan and arrived in Canada. But she and her family are later expected to move to an undisclosed European country.
She was accused of insulting Prophet Mohammad during a row with her neighbours in 2009. A court sentenced her to death in 2010 under Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, sparking widespread outrage from national and international human rights groups.
She was released from prison in November 2018 after being acquitted by the Supreme Court of blasphemy charges on October 31.
Her acquittal triggered widespread protests by religious hardliners in the country where blasphemy is a sensitive issue with 97 per cent of Pakistan's 180 million inhabitants being Muslims.
"Sometimes I was so disappointed and losing courage I used to wonder whether I was coming out of jail or not, what would happen next, whether I would remain here all my life," she told The Daily Telegraph.
"My heart was broken when I left that way without meeting my family. Pakistan is my country, Pakistan is my homeland, I love my country, I love my soil," she added.