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Maira Shahbaz

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 110363, tabled on 24 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made recent representations to the Pakistani Government on the case of Maira Shahbaz.

Answered on

1 February 2022

It is longstanding Government policy not to comment on individual cases, where to do so may put individuals or their family members in danger.

The UK strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, women and girls' rights and gender equality at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan, including on individual cases. During his visit to Pakistan in June 2021, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia met Prime Minister 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 also met interfaith leaders to understand the situation of minorities in Pakistan, particularly the issue of forced conversion and marriage of young girls. Most recently, Lord Ahmad discussed the need to promote respect for all religions with Governor of Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on 28 November, and on January 6 with Shaikh Hasan Haseeb Ur Rehman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, and Pir Naqeeb, custodian of the Eidgah Sharif Shrine in Rawalpindi. In addition to diplomatic engagement, the FCDO funds programmes in Pakistan that directly address early and forced marriages, gender-based violence and modern slavery.