MEP Karim persuades European Parliament to postpone debate on Asia Bibi

British Conservative Member of the European Parliament, Sajjad Karim, has held a debate on the case of Asia Bibi postponed to a later date.

Karim made a request to the Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani, to delay the discussion - that was due to take place later this week - in order to avoid disrupting the ongoing proceedings in Pakistan, as they are still at a sensitive stage, with a review petition against Bibi's acquittal being filed right after the Supreme Court's verdict last month.

The country's highest court is likely to make a decision on the petition in the next few days.

Asia Bibi was accused in 2009 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in an argument after her co-workers refused to share a cup of water with her because she was a Christian. She was later arrested for blasphemy and sentenced to death.

Speaking from Strasbourg, France,  Karim said,“Some days ago, we all received the wonderful news about the Supreme Court’s verdict, so far as the case of Asia Bibi was concerned.

Sajjad Karim

“Indeed, you made an interaction on behalf of this whole house in a very timely way and a very constructive way. Bearing in mind that the proceedings are at such a sensitive stage within Pakistan at this moment in time, I really make a request to colleagues to allow for this matter at this stage to remain in our Presidents’ hands because this House is standing completely unified behind the president at this stage.

“If we are to have a debate on this at such a sensitive time, it may be that we in some way end up compromising Asia Bibi’s situation. So I call on colleagues - let’s stand united behind our President and allow him to make representations on our behalf at this stage.”

Speaking in response to  Karim’s request, President Tajani said:“It [Asia Bibi debate] will be postponed to a later [plenary] session because of our discussions, in order to avoid there being any problems for Asia Bibi and her family, and I think this ties in with the request made by Mr Karim. If there are no objections to that, then this change is adopted.”

Karim has been a long-standing campaigner for Asia Bibi’s case to be concluded.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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