British MPs send message to Pakistan on Asia Bibi case


More than 50 Members of Parliament, from across the political spectrum, have written to the Pakistani authorities asking for an urgent review in the case of Asia Bibi. In a joint letter, authored by Rehman Chishti MP, the 54 British MPs say they feel strongly that a miscarriage of justice has taken place in the case of the Christian mother of five children, who has been sentenced to death.

They call on the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and the Chief Justice, Nasir-Ul-Mulk, to consider this case as a matter of urgency.

This comes as the Lahore High Court recently upheld the death penalty for Asia Bibi, under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. If her sentence is carried out, she would become the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be executed for blasphemy.

The cross party group of MPs believe that this case is tarnishing Pakistan’s international reputation and that the international community is shocked and saddened at the unfairness of the decision.

Asia Bibi has been held in prison for more than four years, and now faces further delays seeking an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The letter’s signatories urge Pakistan to hear her case in the Supreme Court on an urgent basis, by the full bench headed by the Chief Justice. Rehman Chishti MP, who authored the letter, has raised the case of Asia Bibi in Parliament on several occasions.
On Monday (27 October 2014), Mr Chishti asked Prime Minister David Cameron MP to take up the case.

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.”

Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham, Rehman Chishti MP said: “The way Asia Bibi has been treated has made a travesty of the justice system and I hope that with this letter, signed by more than 50 MPs, the Pakistan Prime Minister and the Chief Justice will urgently review this case.”

Rehman Chishti MP is the Member for Gillingham and Rainham and raised the case with Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday 27 October 2014 – see:
www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141027/debtext/141027-0002.htm#14102723000370

 

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear The Hon Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and

The Hon Chief Justice of Pakistan, Honourable Mr Justice Nasir-Ul-Mulk


Re: Miscarriage of justice in the Asia Bibi case.

We are writing to raise our grave concerns over the decision by the Lahore High Court to uphold the conviction and death sentence in the Asia Bibi case.

We feel strongly that a miscarriage of justice has taken place; that Asia Bibi has been falsely implicated and the evidence being used in her case has been fabricated.

The International community is shocked and saddened at the unfairness of this decision and the treatment that she has received under Pakistan’s justice system.

Asia Bibi has now languished in a prison cell for more than four years, with her case adjourned on multiple occasions, and where even the accusers failed to appear in court.

She now faces further delays as she seeks an appeal to the Supreme Court. If her sentence is upheld she will become the first woman in Pakistan’s history to be executed for blasphemy.

We feel that this clear miscarriage of justice undermines Pakistan’s GSP Plus status, which expects countries to respect citizens’ basic human rights and religious freedoms.

We would urge that this case is heard by the Supreme Court on an urgent basis, taking into account that Asia Bibi has already spent four years in custody. The case should be heard by the full bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice, taking into account the international concerns about this case, as it affects the credibility of Pakistan’s judiciary.
As friends of Pakistan, we feel this miscarriage of justice is tarnishing Pakistan’s international reputation and we urge you to review this case as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely

 

Rehman Chishti MP

Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham


Dave Anderson MP

Member of Parliament for Blaydon


Tony Baldry MP

Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire


Bob Blackman MP

Member of Parliament for Harrow East


Peter Bone MP

Member of Parliament for Wellingborough


Sir Peter Bottomley MP

Member of Parliament for Worthing West


Fiona Bruce MP

Member of Parliament for Congleton


David Burrowes MP

Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate


Ronnie Campbell MP

Member of Parliament for Blyth Valley


Martin Caton MP

Member of Parliament for Gower


Oliver Colvile MP

Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport


Michael Connarty MP

Member of Parliament for Linlithgow and East Falkirk


Alex Cunningham MP

Member of Parliament for Stockton North


Nic Dakin MP

Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe


David Davies MP

Member of Parliament for Monmouthshire


David Davis MP

Member of Parliament for Haltemprice and Howden


Mark Durkan MP

Member of Parliament for Foyle


Julie Elliot MP

Member of Parliament for Sunderland Central


Pat Glass MP

Member of Parliament for North West Durham


Roger Godsiff MP

Member of Parliament for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath


Damian Green MP

Member of Parliament for Ashford


Andrew Griffiths MP

Member of Parliament for Burton and Uttoxeter


Mike Hancock MP

Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South


Rebecca Harris MP

Member of Parliament for Castle Point


Sir Oliver Heald MP

Member of Parliament for North East Herfordshire


John Hemming MP

Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley


Gordon Henderson MP

Member of Parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey


Philip Hollobone MP

Member of Parliament for Kettering


Glenda Jackson MP

Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn


Stewart Jackson MP

Member of Parliament for Peterborough


Margot James MP

Member of Parliament for Stourbridge


John Leech MP

Member of Parliament for Manchester Withington


Jeremy Lefroy MP

Member of Parliament for Stafford


Julian Lewis MP

Member of Parliament for New Forest East


Ian Liddell-Grainger MP

Member of Parliament for Bridgwater and West Somerset


Naomi Long MP

Member of Parliament for Belfast East


Caroline Lucas MP

Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion


Mary Macleod MP

Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth


Ann McKechin MP

Member of Parliament for Glasgow North


Stephen Metcalfe MP

Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock


Madeleine Moon MP

Member of Parliament for Bridgend


Caroline Nokes MP

Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North


Laurence Robertson MP

Member of Parliament for Tewkesbury


Adrian Sanders MP

Member of Parliament for Torbay


Jim Shannon MP

Member of Parliament for Strangford


Andrew Smith MP

Member of Parliament for Oxford East


Sir Nicholas Soames MP

Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex


Andrew Stephenson MP

Member of Parliament for Pendle


Sir Andrew Stunell MP

Member of Parliament for Hazel Grove


Valerie Vaz MP

Member of Parliament for Walsall South


David Ward MP

Member of Parliament for Bradford East


Angela Watkinson MP

Member of Parliament for Hornchurch and Upminster


Craig Whittaker MP

Member of Parliament for Calder Valley


Sammy Wilson MP

Member of Parliament for East Antrim

 

 


Tags: Asia Bibi, death sentence, Nasir Ul Mulk, Nawaz Sharif and the Chief Justice, Pakistan, Prime Minister, Rehman Chishti MP

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