UK withholding offer of asylum to Asia Bibi over 'security concerns', campaigner claims

Asia Bibi

The UK has decided not to offer asylum to a Christian mother in Pakistan because of concerns that it would be a threat to security, a human rights campaigner has claimed.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Huffington Post that the British Government was concerned about unrest at home and possible attacks on its embassies around the world. 

Mrs Bibi's family have been pleading for asylum from several western countries, including the UK, since she was acquitted of a death sentence for blasphemy by the Pakistan Supreme Court last week.

Mr Chowdhry said that the family has accepted an offer of asylum from another western country, although he did not disclose which one.

'I've been lead to believe that the UK government had concerns that her moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamist terrorists,' said Mr Chowdhry.

'Asia and her family have now decided to take up one of the offers for asylum from a western country.'

CNN reported on Thursday that her lawyer, Saiful Malook, claimed to have filed an application for asylum in the Netherlands, the same country where he took refuge after her acquittal.

According to CNN, a spokesperson for the Dutch government clarified that an application for asylum could only be submitted by Mrs Bibi from within the Netherlands.

'The case of Asia Bibi has the fullest attention of the Dutch government,' the spokesperson added. 'We are working closely and are in contact with other countries on the matter.'

Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim MP from Birmingham, told The Huffington Post that relations between Pakistani Christians and Muslims in Britain are generally positive.

'Yes there may be a tiny minority on the extremist fringes of Islam who might resort to violence against Pakistani Christians but they will attack anyone who isn't Muslim,' he said.

'It would be wrong to suggest that the general Muslim population in the UK is prejudiced against or hates Pakistani Christians.'