To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Aid to the Church in Need, published 11 June 2021, that Islamist groups in Pakistan are inciting violence towards Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel who were recently acquitted after being on death row for blasphemy.
1 July 2021
The UK Government welcomes the recent acquittal of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel by the Lahore High Court. We remain concerned about the use of blasphemy laws in Pakistan, 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 regularly raise at a senior level our concerns about human rights with the Government of Pakistan. Most recently on 23 and 24 June during a visit to Pakistan, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon raised our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, as well as other senior government ministers including Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Shireen Mazari. Lord Ahmad also met with minority communities during the visit to understand better their concerns and the challenges they face.
We will continue to urge the government of Pakistan to guarantee the rights of all people in Pakistan, particularly the most vulnerable, as laid down in the Constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards.