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Friday, 9 May 2014

MEP Jean Lambert Speaks out against Blasphemy laws and Asia Bibi's incarceration.



MEP Jan Lambert and Wilson Chowdhry Chair of the BPCA

MEP Jean Lambert, Chairperson for the European Parliament Delegations to South East Asia, Japan and India and BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry met to discuss the blasphemy Law of Pakistan.  During the meeting they also discussed the failed attempts by the court system of Pakistan to hold an appeal hearing for innocent Christian victim Asia Bibi.

The BPCA organised the meeting for Saturday 3rd May after Asia's received a fourth appeal court date, which is fixed for 22nd May 2014.  Jean Lambert expressed her great sorrow for the ongoing prejudice faced by minorities in Pakistan. She explained that the European Parliament was constantly challenging Pakistan on it's blasphemy laws. Mrs Lambert said;

"At its last session in April, the European Parliament again expressed its concern at Pakistan's blasphemy laws - all too often used to settle scores or intimidate minorities, doing little to uphold the values they aim to protect ."

When asked about how the European Parliament was challenging  Pakistan to deliver on it's promises for a fair trial, in particular with regard to Asia Bibi, she said;

"The case of Asia Bibi's appeal hearing is raised in the resolution - along with a number of other cases. The Government of Pakistan must ensure that judges feel able to sit and to deliver a judgement based on law and credible evidence, not fear. Human rights are universal and indivisble: all citizens of Pakistan, whatever their belief, are entitled to justice and equality before the law. It is the responsibility of government to ensure those rights and act with compassion to those who are vulnerable - as Asia Bibi is."

Wilson Chowdhry Chairmen for the BPCA said;

"MEP Jean Lambert's visit to the BPCA and her sharing of the European Parliament's efforts towards creating a fairer society in Pakistan, is encouraging.  It demonstrates that the work of numerous humanitarian agencies, has finally highlighted the dire situations faced by previously forgotten minorities of Pakistan.  

He added;

"The European Parliament recently agreed a "Generalized System of Preference" scheme with Pakistan.  This means that trade between Europe and Pakistan for certain predetermined items, is now duty free. This will no doubt, increase trade and reciprocally prosperity in Pakistan. Eventually this agreement will place the European Parliament in a unique position of strength, by which they can lever humanitarian change in Pakistan, if they should so wish."

The Resolution can be found on the website of the European Parliament under Plenary, texts adopted 17th April 2014 (Click Here).

Learn more about the GSP Plus Scheme (Click Here)


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