Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Mohammad Asghar: Relatives to discuss case with Foreign Office

Mohammad Asghar Image copyright Aamer Anwar
Image caption Mohammad Asghar was shot in the back by a guard while being held in prison

The daughter of a man from Edinburgh who is on death row in Pakistan is to discuss his case with the Foreign Office in London.

Mohammed Asghar, who is said to be mentally ill, is being treated in hospital after he was shot by a prison guard last month.

His daughter Jasmine will meet officials to plead for the UK government to intervene.

She will then deliver a 70,000 name petition to Downing Street.

Earlier this week, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond met relatives of Mr Asghar, who was jailed on blasphemy charges earlier this year.

Mr Salmond offered the full support of the Scottish government in attempting to secure Mr Asghar's release.

Mr Asghar's relatives and their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, had hoped to discuss the case with Prime Minister David Cameron while in London, but will instead meet Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood.

Speaking after Wednesday's meeting with Mr Salmond, Mr Anwar said: "We welcome the unconditional support of the Scottish government, the first minister and their repeated attempts to assist Mr Asghar and his family.

Image caption The authorities in Pakistan have attempted to return Mr Asghar to Adiala jail

"We are disappointed that David Cameron has yet to respond to the request to meet with him on Friday when we hand in 70,000 signatures on a petition to Downing Street. All supporters of the petition will be asked tomorrow to email David Cameron seeking his urgent personal intervention.

"It is no longer acceptable for the UK government to hide behind a wall of silence whilst Mr Asghar's life hangs by a thread and call upon the prime minister to personally and publically hold the Pakistani government to account."

Pakistani authorities have attempted to return Mr Asghar, who is from Edinburgh, from hospital to the same prison where he was shot.

The Reprieve charity said that the authorities in Punjab province, where Mr Asghar is being held, have refused requests by his lawyers to access the results of an investigation into the shooting, as well as information relating to his medical assessments since the incident.

Mr Asghar was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in Edinburgh's Royal Victoria Hospital shortly before his trip to Pakistan in 2010.

He was arrested there for writing several letters claiming to be a prophet and was sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Those accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are at high risk of attack from religious extremists.

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