CLAAS has received letters from the office of Lady Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the European Union, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, voicing their concern for Asia’s safety and the human rights violations occurring under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
Lady Ashton said she was aware that blasphemy charges often appeared to be based on false accusations and that they were being used to settle personal scores and incite hatred against religious minorities.
She expressed her desire to see the “strictest observance” of independent and impartial trial guarantees in relation to her trial.
The letter concluded by reiterating the EU’s commitment to seeing human rights protected in Pakistan.
At the end of last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, pressed home the need to provide security for Asia Bibi and her family in a letter sent to the Pakistani President, the federal Minister of Justice and the Minister of Justice for Punjab Province at the end of last year....
The EU made its own concerns known to Prime Minister Gilani last November when it warned in a letter that the death sentence for blasphemy was significantly impacting upon Pakistan’s international standing given the internationally accepted principle of upholding freedom of expression and belief.
Significantly, the EU called upon the Pakistani government to protect religious freedom by reforming the blasphemy laws.
The Archbishop said he would continue to press the Pakistani government on the rights of Christians, and the British government to use its influence on the Pakistani government in this respect.