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Member of Parliament Garnett Genuis, issues statement on Asia Bibi's Arrival to Canada


OTTAWA, ON – Member of Parliament Garnett Genuis issues statement on Asia Bibi's Arrival to Canada:

"It has been a long and difficult path to freedom for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who spent nine years on death row in Pakistan after facing false allegations of blasphemy.

"Asia Bibi’s acquittal of blasphemy charges by Pakistan’s Supreme Court last year marked a monumental step forward for justice, equality, and the rule of law in Pakistan. Today I join the Canadian Pakistani community and all Canadians in welcoming Asia Bibi to Canada. I also share in the optimism, hope, and joy expressed today by those who have ceaselessly advocated for Bibi’s release, particularly the Pakistani Christian community.

"Unfortunately, blasphemy laws continue to be used to target and victimize members of religious minority communities in Pakistan, stifling freedom of speech and fostering an environment of constant fear and anxiety. Canada must continue to work with Pakistan and the international community to address the abhorrent misuse of blasphemy laws and ensure that Pakistan learns from the case of Asia Bibi in order to move in a positive direction towards true equality and freedom for all its citizens.

"We remember and honour today the sacrifices of two Pakistani heroes, Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, who despite facing threats to their own lives publicly advocated for Asia Bibi’s release and paid the ultimate price in doing so. Their fortitude serves as a reminder that we must act decisively with courage in the face of hatred and injustice.

"Canada’s Conservatives have always been committed to upholding freedom of religion and belief, especially in parts of the world where these fundamental freedoms are most threatened. Our leader Andrew Scheer made clear in his keynote foreign policy speech that this is a crucial objective of our party’s platform, and he has pledged to reestablish Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom in order to build on our proud heritage of defending religious freedom.

"Canada has a responsibility to speak out on the international stage for persecuted religious minorities in Pakistan and around the world. We must deepen our commitment to being a global defender of pluralism, human rights, and democracy and must now work to expand our engagement with Pakistan and other countries facing serious human rights issues."