‘I will do anything I can to keep her safe’: British Home Secretary responds to questions about Asia Bibi

By Eno Adeogun

British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid

The Home Office has continued to face pressure by MPs to offer asylum to Asia Bibi.

During questions on Monday in the House of Commons to the Home Secretary, Mike Kane Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East asked if the Pakistani Christian mother-of-five cleared of blasphemy would be offered sanctuary in the UK.

Sajid Javid replied: “Our primary concern is for the safety and security of Asia Bibi and her family, and we welcome a swift resolution to the situation.

“A number of countries are in discussions about providing a safe destination once the legal process is complete, and it would not be right for me to comment further at this stage.”

His words echoed what the Prime Minister said last week when put under pressure in the Commons to “put the record straight” and explain why the UK hasn’t offered Asia Bibi and her family asylum.

Asia Bibi

The Catholic Church in England and Wales, and the Catholic Church in Scotland have both said they would contribute to secure Asia Bibi’s safety.

Mr Kane – who chairs the Catholic Legislators Network, was able to secure a meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss the offer.

“It is not appropriate for me to talk about a particular case, especially if there is a risk that it might put the individual or their family in some kind of further risk, but I assure him that my first concern is the safety of Asia and her family,” Mr Javid explained.

“We are working with a number of countries and I will do anything I can to keep her safe.”

Maulana Fazalur Rehman, leader of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam addresses a rally to condemn a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. The release of Bibi was apparently delayed  after talks failed between the government and radical Islamists who want her publicly hanged. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

Asia Bibi has been facing death threats since she was acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan last month.

There’s growing concern for Christians in Pakistan that continue to face persecution.

Sawan Masih (above, left) was accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad by his Muslim friend in 2013 – a crime which has a mandatory death penalty if found guilty in the country.

 

Carol Monaghan, SNP MP for Glasgow North West said to Mr Javid and his team of ministers: “I appreciate the comments that the Home Secretary has already made about Asia Bibi, but of course there are many, many Christians in Pakistan who live under constant threat of persecution.

“Will the he work with his Home Office colleagues to make sure that their cases for asylum are treated in a sympathetic manner?”

Mr Javid replied: “The hon. Lady is quite right to draw attention to that. We believe that there are currently some 40 individuals in Pakistan on death row because of blasphemy offences.

“That highlights perfectly her concerns. I am sure that the whole House shares those; we will always do what we can to help.”

Source: Premier