The Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, has written to Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the High Commissioner for Pakistan to Australia, Naela Chohan, calling for Pakistan to reopen the case of Asia Bibi.

Archbishop Freier wrote in an article on his blog late last week that the case, in which the Christian mother, who is also known as Aasiya Noreen, was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010 following accusations she had insulted the Muslim prophet Mohammed after sharing a drinking vessel with Muslims, represented a "disgraceful" application of the blasphemy law and had brought "tragedy and shame" upon Ms Bibi and the "beautiful nation of Pakistan".

The archbishop said he had asked Ms Bishop to "pursue justice and mercy" for Ms Bibi and for the protection of the Christian minority in Pakistan. He asked Ms Chohan for Pakistan to reopen the case and acquit Ms Bibi and "also work to protect Christians in Pakistan, who go constantly in fear of their lives and property".

"I wrote to Ms Chohan that Pakistan and Australia share interests and values, including the priority of justice and mercy," he wrote. "The treatment of Asia Bibi fails this fundamental test of our shared humanity, and her continued imprisonment brings shame."

The appeal follows a resolution at the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Zambia last month, which called for a fresh investigation into her case leading to her being "honourably acquitted".

~ www.anglicanprimate.org.au