Canadian gvmt urged to offer asylum to Pakistani Christian facing death
OTTAWA, Ontario, December 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life activist Mark Pickup is calling on the Canadian government to protest a Pakistani court’s decision to execute a Christian mother of five under the country’s blasphemy laws. He’s demanded further that the government offer the 45-year-old woman asylum and refugee status in Canada.
The Punjab native, named Asia Bibi, was imprisoned 18 months ago, and last month was sentenced to hang, after defending her faith in an argument with Muslim co-workers. The woman and her children were tortured by local men, and she says she was raped, before police came to arrest her on dubious charges that she had insulted Mohammed.
“I can not save all Christians who are persecuted or whose lives are in danger—and their are millions around the world—but I can try to save this Christian’s life,” Pickup wrote on his blog Wednesday. “Asia Bibi is my sister in Christ.”
Pickup, an anti-euthanasia activist and advocate for people with disabilities, wrote the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Lawrence Cannon, on Tuesday to demand action.
He asked the Minister to “register an official protest from the government of Canada with Pakistan against Asia Bibi’s death sentence and appeal for clemency and full pardon for her on humanitarian grounds.”
“Asia Bibi’s life is in very real danger regardless of whether she is in or out of prison,” he continued. “Therefore, I ask the Canadian government to offer asylum or refugee status in Canada to Asia Bibi and her family.”
Many people from across the world have called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to issue a pardon, but the courts have insisted that he must wait until the appeal process is finalized. There are concerns, further, that the president is facing strong pressure from extremists in the largely Islamic country.
Even should Bibi be released, there have been numerous calls for her assassination. Reports indicate that over 30 people accused of violating the country’s blasphemy law have been murdered in prison or after their release.
Pickup is calling on people of good will to write their federal representatives as well as their Minister of Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State, urging them to demand clemency. He’s also urging all to write Pakistan’s ambassador at the United Nations.
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Minister Cannon but did not receive a response by press time.
Mark Pickup’s blog can be found at http://markpickup.org.
Hilary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Fax: 202 647 1579
Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Fax: (613) 992-6802
E-mail: [email protected]
Find contact info for Canadian Members of Parliament here.
His Excellency H.E. Zamir Akram
Ambassador to the United Nations
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1209 Geneva, Switzerland
Case postale 434, 1211 Geneve 19
Ph. + 41 22 749 19 30 or 749 19 43
Fax. + 41 22 734 80 85
Email: [email protected]