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Pakistan: Blasphemy

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 161820, tabled on 2 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on the imprisonment of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel.

Answered on

8 March 2021

The UK government is concerned about the use of blasphemy laws, which are only compatible with international human rights law in narrow circumstances. It is our longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We are therefore concerned about the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, who were sentenced to death in 2014 after being convicted for blasphemy.

We regularly raise at a senior level our concerns about the human rights situation with the Government of Pakistan. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, discussed Freedom of Religion or Belief, including the use of blasphemy laws, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 20 February 2021. Lord Ahmad also raised concerns about the protection of religious minorities with Pakistan's Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December 2020.

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