EU-Pakistan trade deals will be linked to the positive outcome of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case

Jan Figel, the special envoy of EU for the promotion of religious freedom around the world, in his recent visit to Pakistan candidly communicated to the Pakistani government that the future continuity of Pakistan as trade partner of the European Union will be directly linked to the positive outcome of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010.

The EU countries have started believing that Pakistan’s Supreme Court, appeasing certain political and fundamental forces of Pakistan, is intentionally delaying the hearing of Asia Bibi.

“The Asia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging in 2010. In June 2009, Noreen was involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women grew angry with her for drinking the same water as them. She was subsequently accused of insulting the Islamic prophetMuhammad, a charge she denies, and was arrested and imprisoned. In November 2010, a Sheikhupura judge sentenced her to death. If executed, Noreen would be the first woman in Pakistan to be lawfully killed for blasphemy.”

In the forthcoming meetings of EU-Pakistan trade partner status for Pakistan, Asia Bibi being the prime issue of EU, freedom of expression, disappearances of people of dissent and pitiable situation of religious minorities have also been included in the agenda. The prime minister of Pakistan has directly been communicated that the future membership will be subject to the release of Asia Bibi.

Pakistan ranks 5th on the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.