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Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 268580, tabled on 24 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic support his Department has provided to the Federal Government of Pakistan to (a) establish a taskforce to develop a strategy to promote religious tolerance and (b) develop a curricula at schools and colleges that promotes a culture of religious and social tolerance.

Answered on

2 July 2019

The Department for International Development (DFID)'s AAWAZ II Accountability, Inclusion and Reducing Modern Slavery Programme works with communities in Pakistan to promote rights of children, women, youth and religious minorities, protect them from exploitation, prevent discrimination and intolerance. This £39.5m programme, due to run from 2018 to 2024, will build on AAWAZ I. It will also build capacity of targeted government institutions.

Since 2008, responsibility to develop curriculum and textbooks has been devolved to provinces in Pakistan (with the Federal Government having some oversight but very little role in implementation). DFID has assisted the provincial governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to revise specific textbooks to align them with the 2006 national curriculum, which is a substantial improvement in terms of inclusion and tolerance from the previous curriculum. DFID technical assistance provided to both provincial governments is increasing the capability and capacity of the Curriculum and Textbook Boards to review textbooks, including on the systems and standards necessary to identify and remove discriminatory content. We are also supporting education for children from minority communities and funding training for 100,000 teachers on inclusion.