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Pakistan: Blasphemy and Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 71993, tabled on 25 April 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Pakistan on the protection of religious minorities and the charge of blasphemy.

Answered on

27 April 2017

We are concerned about continuing reports of abuses against religious minorities in Pakistan. The Government strongly condemns the persecution of all minorities, including the targeting of innocent people based on their religion or beliefs. Our concerns are reflected in the latest update to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office annual human rights report.

We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of minority communities, including religious minorities, and misuse of the blasphemy laws with the Pakistani Government at a senior level. During my visit to Pakistan in January, I raised our concerns about religious minorities with Kamran Michael, Pakistani Minister for Human Rights, and Barrister Zafarullah Khan, the Prime Minister's Special Assistant for Human Rights. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) discussed the misuse of the blasphemy laws and the importance we attach to safeguarding the rights of all Pakistan's citizens during his visit to Pakistan in November 2016.