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Pakistan: Politics and Government

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL12397, tabled on 21 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reported (1) abduction, and (2) forced marriage, of Farah Shaheen in Pakistan; what assessment they have made of the number of similar cases in that country; how, and with whom, they raise cases of (a) abduction, (b) forced marriage, and (c) forced conversion, in Pakistan; when they last raised those issues with the government of Pakistan; and what response they received.

Answered on

4 February 2021

Pakistan remains a FCDO Human Rights Priority Country. The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan. NGOs assess that there may be around 1000 cases a year of forced conversion and child marriage, affecting girls from minority communities. The FCDO does not comment on individual cases. We regularly raise our concerns on these issues with the Government of Pakistan. Most recently, I raised the human rights situation in Pakistan with the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister to the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December. I raised our human rights concerns, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 16 November 2020. I also raised our concerns about child, early and forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from minority religious communities, with Dr Mazari on 19 October.

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.