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Pakistan: Blasphemy

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 177171, tabled on 9 October 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Pakistan on (a) the case of Asia Bibi and (b) concerns about blasphemy laws.

Answered on

15 October 2018

We remain deeply concerned by the misuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, and the fact that religious minorities are disproportionately affected. The harsh penalties for blasphemy, including the death penalty, add to these concerns.

We regularly raise our human rights concerns with the Government of Pakistan at a senior level; and we have urged them to take steps to prevent the misuse of the blasphemy laws. The Minister for the Commonwealth and the UN discussed our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, in September 2018. I raised discrimination against religious minorities with the Ministry of Human Rights during my visit to Pakistan in November 2017. We will continue to press the new Government of Pakistan to adhere to its international obligations and uphold the rule of law.

We remain deeply concerned about Ms Bibi's case. The British High Commission in Islamabad monitor developments in her case closely, including the decision of the Supreme Court to reserve its 8 October 2018 judgement.

The UK supported the EU statement of October 2014 expressing strong concern at the decision of the Lahore High Court to uphold the conviction against Ms Bibi. We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure our views are made clear to the Pakistani authorities.

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