A Parliamentary debate on foreign aid to Pakistan met with large support when presented in the House of Commons by MP Andrew Stevenson on 2nd March 2012. The Early Day Motion (EDM) was the concept of Wilson Chowdhry from the BPCA and was created to honour the memory of Shahbaz Bhatti on the anniversary of his death.
A similar parliamentary discussion was held in Ireland and USA through partner groups Church in Chains and Church Action Network respectively, in a collective attempt to highlight the suffering of minorities living in Pakistan more globally.
Shahbaz Bhatti sacrificed his life to protect victims of inequality and oppression in Pakistan, in a candid interview with the BBC just weeks before his own death, he talked of the numerous threats to his life, and his commitment to become a martyr for his faith and country. His sacrifice has been recognised by world leaders and the clamour for justice in the wake of his death was immense. Pakistan declared 3 days holidays for it's people to nationally mourn a heroic figure. The Pope in Rome and and Archbishop of Canterbury held a mass in his honour and lead political figures decried his assassination and the suffering of innocent people in Pakistan.The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called on the Pakistani government to declare a moratorium on the application of the blasphemy laws until a comprehensive review is carried out. In a statement released on 2 March 2011, the same day as Mr Bhatti’s murder, Navi Pillay said: “I urge the Government of Pakistan to honour the courageous stand of Mr. Bhatti and Mr. Taseer by supporting their position on the blasphemy laws. To do otherwise will simply encourage similar acts of violence and lawlessness as a means of scaring governments off from making much needed human rights reforms.”
Since the parliamentary debate in UK Parliament only 14 MP's have signed the EDM and Wilson Chowdhry is calling on residents of Britain to challenge their local politicians to add their name to this important motion. He said;
"This EDM challenges the incarceration of victims of blasphemy laws across the world. Blasphemy laws contravene the basic human right of freedom to practise the faith of ones choosing. It cannot be a difficult decision for MP's to support this EDM, any failure to sign would to reject the sacrifices made by Shahbaz Bhatti"
"With encouragement from their constituents, I hope we will see this motion gain much more support perhaps even from the Muslim MP's in this country, who support equality so fervently when their community here is faced with problems."
You can view the EDM and signatories here:
If you seek contact details for your MP use the link below: