Call to grant Asia Bibi asylum gets strident in UK

Justin Trudeau has said Canada is a welcoming place

Image Justin Trudeau has said Canada is a welcoming place

If that argument and the referendum itself are not just to be pointless change, the government should seize the very likely cost-free way of demonstrating its commitment to freedom, equality and modernity by offering Asia Bibi and her family asylum and safety here.

Mr Chisti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he had asked her husband and daughter to give him a letter to pass to the United Kingdom government.

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, said on Monday that Canada was in talks with Pakistan over granting her asylum.

"There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don't want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country", he told AFP.

The UK has the moral responsibility to offer asylum for Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi who recently acquitted of blasphemy, said British Conservative MP Rehman Chisti.

The Pakistani government, after tackling a crisis surrounding Aasia's acquittal, now has to deal with "fake" images on social media purporting to show her outside the country.

Terming the reports as "false and baseless", a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said, "Asiya Bibi has not left Pakistan and she is in the country", Geo News reported.

The court overturned her conviction on the grounds there was not enough evidence to support it.

One politician received death threats because of the misidentification.

"There is a need to check the unchecked social media and bring it within the ambit of law", he said, adding that fake news and fake notifications come up from fake accounts on social media on nearly daily basis and needed to be checked. Now, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has written to British Foreign Secretary Sajid Javid arguing that Asia Bibi had an "overwhelming claim for compassion" from the British government.

Asia Bibi was released following eight years on death row in Pakistan after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, which sparked violent protests by hardliners.

Since her release, Bibi and her family have faced threats and her husband has pleaded with countries in the West to relocate them. It was alleged that she made derogatory remarks about Islam after others objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not a Muslim.

Following Bibi's acquittal last month, the founder of the radical Tehreek-e-Labbak Party, Mohammed Afzal Qadri, issued a fatwa calling for the death of the three Supreme Court judges who handed down the acquittal and the overthrow of Khan's government.

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