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Australia urges release of death row mother accused of blasphemy

Foreign Affairs officers have raised the case with high-ranking Pakistani officials twice in the past five weeks.

Senior diplomat Simon Merrifield discussed the matter with Pakistan’s high commissioner earlier this month.

His approach came after Australia’s ambassador for women and girls, along with the high commissioner to Pakistan, raised the case with the South Asian nation’s new minister for human rights.

“We continue to advocate for her release,” Mr Merrifield told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

Liberal senator Eric Abetz suggested Australia ought to reconsider the “relatively generous” aid provided to Pakistan as part of its representations.

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“When a country seems to be so recalcitrant, I’m just wondering whether financial matters might assist them to mend their ways,” Senator Abetz said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne was careful to point out the court appeal is still afoot.

“Senator, I think it’s important to note there are certain matters before the Supreme Court of Pakistan at the moment, and we’re very conscious of that,” she said.

Source: AAP – SBS