Boris Johnson has called on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to grant Asia Bibi asylum in the UK, insisting her life is at risk if she remains in Pakistan.
The 53-year-old was released from prison in October after serving an eight-year sentence for blasphemy charges, but is still at risk of being targeted by lynch mobs and extremists, Johnson warned on Tuesday.
In a letter to the home secretary and Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, Johnson said the threat of retaliatory action by the Pakistani government must not “deter us from doing the right thing.”
“I do not think it is a dignified position for the UK, given our historic links with Pakistan and the extent of our influence there, to look to others to do what we are allegedly nervous to do ourselves,” he added.
She was jailed in 2010 for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed, with prosecutors sentencing her to death, though this was overruled, and the woman was finally freed in October after spending eight years in solitary confinement.
Canada is also considering granting the family asylum, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier describing the matter as a “delicate domestic” issue, adding that “Canada is a welcoming country.”