To sentence an old man to death for blasphemy is medieval. To sentence an old man with a history of mental illness, who arrived in Pakistan after being sectioned in the UK under the Mental Health Act and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, is beyond inhumane.
So isn’t it a bit lame for the Foreign Office not to criticise the extraordinary way in which the trial was conducted but simply to condemn death sentences in general… a death sentence, which we all know, will actually not be carried out giving Pakistan ample wiggle room to sidestep the condemnation? Here’s what Baroness Warsi had to say:
We are aware that Mohammad Asghar, a British national, was yesterday sentenced to death by a court in Rawalpindi in Pakistan. It is the longstanding policy of Her Majesty’s Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been providing consular support to Mr Asghar, and we will be raising our concerns in the strongest possible terms with the Pakistani government.
I hope I never need the Foreign Office to come to my rescue.