To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have had with the government of Pakistan on the protection of religious minorities in that country.
17 November 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. Pakistan is one of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) human rights priority countries and protecting FoRB is an integral part of our engagement on human rights in Pakistan. The United Kingdom 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 on 23 and 24 June during a visit to Pakistan, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Minister responsible for human rights, raised the need to promote respect for all religions with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, as well as other senior government ministers including Foreign Minister Qureshi, and Human Rights Minister Mazari. During these meetings, Lord Ahmad highlighted the need to address persecution, promote respect for all religions and increase tolerance for religious minorities. He met minority communities during the visit to understand better their concerns, including a meeting with representatives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, an interfaith roundtable and discussions with influential religious leaders.
In addition, the UK works within the United Nations, The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe, and the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance to promote and protect FoRB around the globe. 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.