An MP is going to walk the length of a marathon in segments to help persecuted Christian, despite an injury initially leaving him barely able to stand.
Rehman Chishti MP, the Prime Minister's former Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief (FORB), is raising money for Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic charity who raise awareness of religious freedom issues for Christians of all denominations around the world, including that of Asia Bibi who was initially sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy against Islam.
The MP for Gillingham and Rainham intended to run the London Marathon 2020 for Aid to the Church in Need but it was cancelled because of Covid-19. He then planned to run it this October but he slipped a disk, causing serious injury.
Mr Chishti said: "When I walk I get excruciating pain in my leg and I have to stop. When it first happened I could not move at all. Walking, even standing up, was exceptionally difficult."
The MP explained why he chose to raise money for the church charity after previously running the London Marathon in 2017 for Cancer Research.
Rehman said: "ACN, for me, is an amazing charity. I first got to know the charity over the Asia Bibi case, when ACN brought her husband and daughter to see me in October 2018 before the Supreme Court decision.
"I became more familiar with their work. Therefore, I felt it natural to do something tangible to support ACN and highlight their work as I love running."
The politician, who quit his FORB role partly over the refusal to offer Asia Bibi asylum in the UK, added: "I really, really appreciate ACN's fantastic work, helping make the lives of persecuted people better."
Because of his injury, he will walk the marathon in sections: "I'm thinking of walking five kilometres every other day because I can't do any more than that due to the injury. I will do the 26-mile walk in segments as, unfortunately, I can't risk injuring myself anymore."
He said: "There is pain, sometimes exceptional pain, but with painkillers I can walk."
Mr Chishti added: "To me, politics is about fulfilling your commitments. On that basis I am adamant I will do that by walking the duration of the marathon."