MP Rehman Chishti has stepped down as Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party and PM’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan citing that he does not support the Draft of the EU Trade Agreement and most notably his disappointment with the UK’s lack of leadership in doing the right thing regarding Asia Bibi’s case. To read his resignation letter (click here)
In his letter of resignation posted on Twitter, Mr Chishti said:
“What I find shocking is that the British Government is failing to put into practice the core values that our country stands for: religious freedom, justice, morally doing the right thing, and that where we see injustice, when an individual’s life is in clear danger, and they have been persecuted for their faith, we do all that we can to help them.
“The Government should not wait for another country to offer sanctuary, we should have had the conviction to lead on this matter and offer sanctuary straight away.”
Mr Chishti note the odious nature of the charges against Asia Bibi when he once picked up a glass of water which was being used by Bishop Michael-Nazir during an APPG Meeting and silenced attendees when he drank from it saying:
” I can’t believe Asia Bibi was accused of blasphemy after such a simple act.”
Reham Chishti also organised a meeting with MPs and Lords at Parliament during mid-October, when Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih was in the UK with his youngest daughter. Without reason, the meeting was cancelled, leaving Mr Chisti to sheepishly apologise to them. The shame of the situation was exacerbated by way of the fact that the cancellation happened after the family had gone through parliamentary security.
Many of Asia Bibi’s supporters seemed to wrongly have the impression that the UK was acting to help provide protection and that the family remained safely in the country following a UK visit to campaign for legal assistance. In fact her husband and daughter needed to return to Pakistan in the face of Supreme Court Appeal and remain in hiding. It was not until BPCA was given clear permission to release the video appeal for asylum by Ashiq Masih, that any real offers began to evolve.
So far the British Government has let down the family of Asia Bibi significantly. The UK has up to this point has not offered Asia Bibi asylum as a result of the fear of embassy staff, and this is clearly an untenable position.
Wilson Chowdhry said:
“MP Chishti has always proven himself a genuine and ardent supporter of human rights, and has readily spoken out on the plight of Pakistani Christians in the past.
“His actions today are a poignant reminder that forgoing a compassionate and urgent response to the asylum case of Asia Bibi to placate those who would violate the rule of law in their own country and utter threats against other nations is not a reasonable option.
“Who would feel the weight of our relationship with Pakistan upon his conscience more than the PM’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan? Having made his best effort to help through those channels he has now chosen to resign this post on principle.
“The UK’s financial relationship with Pakistan must change. It has proven an ineffective incentive for the improvement of human rights and there are not the results to warrant future financial aid or favoured trade status.”
Mr Chowdhry emphasized:
“At this same pivotal moment in history when we are fashioning our future through the terms of BREXIT, the British government is being tempted to shirked a kindness for fear of reprisals from extremist groups.
“This fear itself is one fundamental point of concern as our government forges policy on behalf of British subjects. Threats must always be faced and so must our fears, or we become the definition of cowardice.
“This is not how we as citizens of the nation for which the Magna Carta was penned and in whose resolve against hateful invaders our predecessors pledged to:
“‘Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.’
“Since when does Great Britain give in? This is no small thing. We therefore appeal to the honour and good sense of the British people regarding the rationale for the UK not offering asylum to Asia Bibi.
“Mr Chishti has acted out on his principles showing the clear support of people of goodwill and we will continue to knock upon the UK’s door on behalf of Asia Bibi .”
BPCA wish to express our heartfelt gratitude for the support of our compatriots from every walk of life for their support of asylum in the UK for Asia, her family and associates.
Wilson Chowdhry has been invited to a meeting with Lord Ahmad the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Friday at 12:30.
Please gather outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1pm as Mr Chowdhry will be sharing the contents of the discussion immediately after the interview.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office is located at
FCO Main Building King Charles Street
City of Westminster, London, UK
After this we will walk to the Pakistan High Commission and submit our BPCA petition calling for safe protection of Asia Bibi and her family there.
34-36 Lowndes Square
Please bring candles as we will hold a peaceful prayer vigil there until 5pm – people of all faiths and no faith are welcome to join us and show their support.
British Pakistani Christian Association, continues to provide advocacy and humanitarian aid to Christians in Pakistan and people of Britain. We cannot do it without your help please donate by clicking (here)
Please do not donate from the petition page as that goes only to the petition management.