EU Makes Renewal of Trade Deal with Pakistan Dependent on Release of Asia Bibi

ICC Note: The European Union (EU) has made the renewal of a preferential trade deal with Pakistan dependent on the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy. Bibi was found guilty on weak evidence and sentenced to death in 2010. Many advocates claim she is innocent. Due to widespread discrimination and religious intolerance in Pakistan, Bibi has remained on death row despite multiple appeals.

02/26/2018 Pakistan (Premier) – The European Union has said the renewal of a trade deal with Pakistan will be dependent on the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row.

Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, something she denies. She appealed the sentence but the hearing was postponed and she has been in prison ever since.

Jan Figel, the EU’s special envoy for freedom of religion outside the EU, has told Pakistan that the renewal of their export privileges will be dependent on the freedom of Asia Bibi.

Pakistan currently have ‘Generalized System of Preferences (GPS) status’, meaning Pakistani products have duty-free access to the EU market with either no tariffs or preferential levies.

They have had this since 2013 and the prime minister of Pakistan at the time, Nawaz Sharif, said: “gaining access to European markets was the top most priority of the government”.

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