Following the release of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman sentenced to death in 2010 for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, on 31 October, the Chairs of AFET and DROI stated:
“We wholeheartedly welcome the release of Aasiya Noreen, also known as Asia Bibi, after eight years in prison, following the ruling of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, overturning her conviction for blasphemy, which is unfortunately punishable by death under Pakistani laws”.
Mr McAllister and Mr Panzeri emphasised that the Pakistani authorities must continue to uphold the rule of law, and Pakistan’s international commitments on human rights.
“We condemn the violence by extremist elements in Pakistan and hope that in the light of the past violence against victims of blasphemy allegations by vigilantes, as well as against those who criticised blasphemy laws, the Pakistani government will do its utmost to provide safety to Ms Bibi, her family and those courageous persons defending freedom of expression and religion”.
Mr McAllister recalled that the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee visited Pakistan in April last year and held in-depth exchanges of views with the authorities and civil society, including human rights defenders, on the human rights situation in the country.
The statement was issued by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), David McAllister (EPP, DE) and the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT)