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Pakistan: Blasphemy

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 168067, tabled on 24 July 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his polices of the submissions on proposed procedural amendments to check the misuse of blasphemy law in Pakistan authored by the Pakistani National Commission for Human Rights.

Answered on

7 September 2018

We remain deeply concerned at 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, discussed the issue of freedom of religion or belief with the former Minister of Interior in February 2018. During my most recent visit to Pakistan in November 2017, I raised discrimination against religious minorities with the Ministry of Human Rights, and shall do again in my visit later this year.

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