Asia Bibi supporter faces deportation from the UK

Azeem Wazir fled to the UK after a fatwah was issued following his campaigning against Pakistan's blasphemy laws

An appeal has been launched to stop the deportation of a Pakistani Christian who sought sanctuary in the UK after protesting against his country's blasphemy laws.

Azeem Wazir left Pakistan in 2015 after a fatwah was issued against him following his protests against the blasphemy laws and his involvement in a campaign called 'Stop Killing Christians'. 

He has been living in Bristol since that time but was detained without warning in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, outside London, last week and told he faces deportation back to Pakistan on Friday. 

News of his imminent deportation came on the same day as it was revealed that Asia Bibi, a Christian mother who spent nearly 10 years in prison for blasphemy, had finally been able to leave Pakistan for the safety of Canada, where she has been granted asylum. 

Mr Wazir's lawyers have launched an urgent appeal to stop his deportation and a petition has been started calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to intervene and reconsider his case. 

Efforts to stop Mr Wazir's deportation are being supported by the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees and the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Vivienne Faull. 

Mr Rees said: "It is inconceivable that as Canada opens its doors to give Asia Bibi and her family safety, we are on the verge of sending one of her public supporters back to Pakistan where he faces clear and very serious danger.

"Azeem is a valued member of the Bristol community and we are doing everything we can to try to make sure the Home Office reconsider this case." 

Bishop Faull said: "We know that the situation for Christians in many parts of the world is extremely difficult, and Pakistan is sadly no exception.

"It's extremely concerning to see someone like Azeem being threatened with deportation at such short notice when his case clearly warrants fuller consideration."