Motion S5M-09905: Free Asia Bibi

17 Jan 2018

That the Parliament deplores reports of the ongoing incarceration in Pakistan of Asia Bibi under charges of blasphemy; understands that Asia was accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with other women while picking berries in 2009; further understands that, in 2010, she was sentenced to death and has been on death row since; believes that Asia’s appeal against her conviction has been delayed multiple times, with the chief justice declining a request for a hearing in 2017 being the most recent development; considers that this case highlights the problems with the blasphemy laws in Pakistan and the extremes that many of the backers of the law will go to defend them, for example in Asia’s case; understands that both Shahbaz Bhatti, who was a government minister, and Salmaan Taseer, who was the Governor for Punjab province, were both assassinated for advocating on her behalf against these laws; believes that all citizens in Scotland, Pakistan and elsewhere should have freedom to hold any or no religion or belief, and calls on the Pakistani Government to repeal its laws of blasphemy and to look again at the case of Asia Bibi before she has to spend another year on death row.