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Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 178544, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has prepared a written strategy for tackling freedom of religion or belief violations in Pakistan.

Answered on

20 April 2021

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities around the globe. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the top priorities in our human rights strategy for Pakistan. The Government strongly condemns the persecution of all minorities, including the targeting of innocent people based on their beliefs.

We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religion or belief. Most recently my Ministerial colleague, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised the need to promote respect for all religions with Pakistan's Special Representative for Religious Harmony, Tahir Ashrafi, on 23 March 2021. He also raised our concerns on FoRB in Pakistan with the Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 20 February 2021.

The UK works within the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance to promote and protect FoRB for all. The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all at a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the intergovernmental Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his personal commitment to the issue by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB.