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Pakistan: Blasphemy

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 168066, tabled on 24 July 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his Pakistani counterpart on strengthening the legal procedures relating to religious blasphemy charges in that country to protect against frivolous accusations.

Answered on

6 September 2018

We remain deeply concerned by the misuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. The blasphemy laws are used against Pakistanis belonging to all faiths although religious minorities are disproportionately affected. This is particularly concerning given the harsh penalties for blasphemy, including the death penalty.

We have regularly raised our human rights concerns with the previous Government of Pakistan at a senior level, and have urged them to take steps to prevent the misuse of the blasphemy laws. My colleague, the Minister of State for Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed the issue of freedom of religion or belief with the former Minister of Interior in February 2018. During my visit to Pakistan in November 2017, I raised discrimination against religious minorities with the Ministry of Human Rights.

We will continue to press the new Government of Pakistan to adhere to its international obligations and uphold the rule of law.