To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to support girls who have been subject to forced conversions and marriages in Sindh, Pakistan.
26 January 2021
The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns on these issues with the Government of Pakistan. The Minister for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised our human rights concerns, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights on 16 November 2020. On 7 December 2020, Lord Ahmad raised the human rights situation in Pakistan with the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister to the Interior, Shahzad Akbar. Lord Ahmad also raised our concerns about child, early and forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from minority religious communities, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights on 19 October 2020.
The British High Commission in Islamabad meets frequently with minority religious communities in Pakistan to understand the pressures they face. We also engage with the Parliamentary Committee on Forced Conversions, the Council of Islamic Ideology, and civil society organisations to influence awareness and policy on these issues, including in Sindh.
Furthermore, through the UK's development support, we are working with the Government of Pakistan to strengthen and improve Pakistan's police and judicial systems. The UK's Strengthening Rule of Law in Pakistan programme aims to increase public confidence and trust in the Rule of Law. It focuses on delivering outputs that improve the justice system for victims, witnesses and offenders, including vulnerable women and girls.