- British PM acknowledges Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terrorism
- Asks Sharif to treat Briton jailed in Pakistan for blasphemy fairly
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with his British counterpart David Cameron and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for a breakfast meeting at 10 Downing Street on Friday.
The prime minister, during the trilateral informal meeting, reiterated that a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s interest and that the country looked forward to forge a cooperative relationship with the Afghan government.
Cameron appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and assured his government’s support to Pakistan in its efforts to root out the menace.
Sharif appreciated British assistance in Pakistan’s social-sector development, particularly in health and education, and urged British entrepreneurs to invest in the energy sector of Pakistan.
Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Syed Tariq Fatemi and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to United Kingdom Syed Ibne Abbas also attended the meeting.
Later they were joined by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
In the backdrop of the recently held London conference on Afghanistan, regional situation with particular reference to Afghanistan was discussed and commitments made in the conference were reiterated.
The leaders expressed their resolve to work together for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan which would have a direct impact on the entire region.
FAIR TREATMENT FOR BLASPHEMY ACCUSED:
Meanwhile, Cameron asked Sharif to ensure a British man jailed for blasphemy is treated fairly and that his history of mental health is taken into account.
Cameron raised the case of 70-year-old Muhammad Asghar during a meeting with Prime Minister Sharif, the British leader’s spokeswoman told reporters, saying more junior government officials had previously raised the same matter.
Asghar, a Muslim from Edinburgh, was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to death in January after a disgruntled tenant presented letters he had written saying he was a prophet.
In September, his lawyers said he had been shot and wounded in jail by a prison guard in Rawalpindi.
“The PM raised the Asghar case,” said Cameron’s spokeswoman. “Our focus at the moment is making sure he gets the right level of treatment and that the case is handled in the right way, given his particular situation.”
Blasphemy charges, punishable by death in Pakistan, are hard to fight because the law does not define what is blasphemous. Presenting the evidence can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.
Asghar had previously been detained under the mental health act in Britain and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.