More than 50 MPs have written to the Pakistani government calling for an urgent review of the Asia Bibi case. Mrs Bibi, an illiterate Christian farm worker from Punjab, has spent five years in prison after been accused of blaspheming Mohammed during an argument with neighbours over a well.
Last month the Pakistani high court upheld the death penalty imposed on the mother of five, despite widespread protests from around the world. In a joint letter, written by Conservative MP Rehman Chishti, a Muslim, the 54 British MPs say that a miscarriage of justice has taken place, and call on the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif and the chief justice, Nasir-Ul-Mulk, to consider this case as a matter of urgency. If the sentence were carried out, Mrs Bibi would become the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be executed for blasphemy.
She now faces further delays seeking an appeal to the supreme court. Mr Chishti, the MP for Gillingham, has raised the case of Asia Bibi in Parliament on several occasions. Last month he also asked the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to take up the case with the Pakistani government. Mr Cameron told the House of Commons that “we have been pushing the Pakistan government to amend the blasphemy laws, and I will be speaking to the Prime Minister.” The case involving 43-year-old Mrs Bibi has gained worldwide attention, highlighting Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which critics say are often used in local disputes or to settle grudges.
Two Pakistani politicians, the Muslim Salmaan Tasser and Christian Shabhaz Bhatti, were murdered for standing up for Mrs Bibi. Canada has offered her asylum, a group in America has raised a petition of 200,000 signatures calling for an end to US aid, and a French journalist has ghost written her memoirs.
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