LONDON – The government of the United Kingdom has denied asylum to Asia Bibi, a blasphemy suspect who was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court after the prosecution failed to prove its case.
According to a report by huffpost, the appeal to Britain for asylum was denied as the country fears for its diplomatic missions abroad for granting residence to the woman who spent 9 years behind bars on charges of blasphemy.
Global campaigners working to secure Bibi’s relocation out of Pakistan said the UK government had not offered her asylum, citing security concerns.
Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said two countries offered asylum to the woman but hastened to add that Britain was not one of them.
‘I’ve been lead to believe that the UK government had concerns that her moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamist terrorists,’ Chowdhry said.
He continued that Asia and her family, who are still in Pakistan under tight security, have now decided to take up one of the offers for asylum from a western country.
The denial of asylum was specifically not confirmed diplomatically but the British Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases.
Netherlands offers Asylum
Amid a debate as to what will be the destination of Asia Bibi, his lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook has filed an asylum application on behalf of his client in the Netherlands.
In an interview to CNN on Friday, the lawyer expressed that the application was submitted for Bibi, her husband and their daughters.
Aasia Bibi was cleared of blasphemy charges by the Supreme Court on October 31 and was released from Multan prison; she was shifted to an undisclosed location because of the threat to her life.
The acquittal set off a wave of protests in Pakistan with Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan pressing the top court to reverse its verdict and hang Asia Bibi.
After three-day long agitation, the government struck an agreement with the religious faction following which the protests were terminated.
It was earlier reported that Asia Bibi had left Pakistan, however, the Foreign Office clarified that she was in the country, adding that the lady was a free citizen like others.