Hardeep Singh in Quillette:
Among the string of resignations triggered by the draft Brexit agreement with the European Union (EU), one stood out. In a double whammy for an embattled Prime Minister, Rehman Chishti the MP for Gillingham and Rainham resigned as both Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party as well as the PM’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan. Aside from citing Theresa May’s shambolic handling of Brexit negotiations, Chishti said the British government’s failure to give Asia Bibi asylum had been a motivating factor in his decision.
Bibi’s case is a cause célèbre. She is a Christian who had been languishing on death row for nine years in Pakistan for blasphemy charges. To Christians worldwide, Bibi is a symbol of fortitude, faith, and unflinching commitment. After all, a conversion to Islam would have exonerated her, but she refused to recant her faith. She was imprisoned after fetching drinking water for fellow berry pickers on a Punjab farm in Pakistan in 2009. Her Muslim co-workers accused her of contaminating the water, because she was Christian. Following a verbal dispute, a complaint was lodged with a local Imam, alleging that Bibi had blasphemed against the Prophet—a capital offense under sections 295B/295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, introduced under the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her of the charges and said the accusations levelled against her were “concoction incarnate.”
Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, Muslim extremists believe Bibi must still be executed. They staged mass protests in major cities like Islamabad and Karachi threatening to kill the judges who acquitted her.