November 14, 2018
Imran Khan on Tuesday reaffirmed his government’s resolve to respect the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned.
“As citizens of Pakistan, Asia Bibi and her family are entitled to all rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan,” the premier told European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who had telephoned Khan.
According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Tajani thanked Khan for ensuring the safety and security of Bibi and her family.
Assuring the prime minister of the EU Parliament’s cooperation with the Pakistani government, Tajani said that a debate on Bibi scheduled to be held in the EU Parliament had been postponed.
Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of protests by religiopolitical groups.
She has since been flown to a “safe place” in the country as several governments have offered to grant her family asylum.
In a tweet, the EU Parliament’s head said Prime Minister Khan had “assured [him] that Asia Bibi and her family are safe and well”.
“We fully agreed on the need to respect all religions, everywhere in the world,” he wrote.
According to the PM Office, the premier during the conversation stressed the need to respect “each other’s religions and sentiments”, and called for enhanced dialogue and cooperation to promote intercultural and interfaith harmony.
Khan also conveyed “serious concerns” to Tajani regarding the issue of blasphemous cartoons, “underscoring the need to redouble efforts in European countries to avoid such provocative incidents”.
The prime minister also stressed the need to create greater awareness about religious sensitivities of Muslims, particularly the respect for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and promote interfaith harmony in EU countries.
According to the statement, Khan welcomed the European Court of Human Rights’ decision “not to allow acts of blasphemy under the cloak of right to freedom of expression” and expressed the hope that European countries would implement the verdict.