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Shizam Riasat

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL15820, tabled on 20 May 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the human rights and freedom of religion or belief implications of the case of the 16 year old Pakistani Christian girl Sheeza Riasat who was abducted from her parents’ home near Gujranwala, Pakistan on 12 February and forcibly converted and married; and what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about that case.

Answered on

4 June 2019

The Government is concerned about the case of Sheeza Riasat. The Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan.

We welcome the recent decision by the Pakistan Senate to pass the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2019. The Bill was recently introduced to the National Assembly.

The UK regularly raises concerns about the protection of vulnerable groups, including religious minorities, women and children, with the Pakistani Government. Officials at the British High Commission in Islamabad have raised the issue of forced marriage with the National Commission for Human Rights.

During my visit to Pakistan on 18 and 19 February, I met faith leaders to discuss issues faced by religious minorities, including the issue of forced marriage. I also raised our concerns about child protection, the treatment of minority communities and the issue of forced marriage with Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, during the same visit.

We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to take the steps necessary to comply in full with its human rights obligations to vulnerable groups, including religious minorities and women and girls, and to uphold the rule of law.