To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the killing of a Christian priest and the wounding of another in an attack in Peshawar on 30 January; and what recent discussions they have had with the government of Pakistan about the protection of religious minorities.
14 February 2022
The shocking murder of a Christian priest, and wounding of another, last weekend in Peshawar was a disturbing indication of the violence faced by minorities in Pakistan. I (Lord Ahmad) and the British High Commissioner in Islamabad have publicly condemned the attack, and British officials in Islamabad have also privately expressed their condolences to Pakistan's Christian community.
The UK regularly raises our concerns about freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and women and girls' rights at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan. During my visit to Pakistan on 23 and 24 June 2021, I [Lord Ahmad] met Prime Minister Khan, as well as other senior government ministers, and discussed our concerns. I met interfaith leaders to understand the situation of Pakistani minorities, including the issue of forced conversion and marriage. Most recently, I discussed the need to promote respect for all religions with Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, on 28 November 2021. In July the UK will host an international Ministerial Conference to advance FoRB. Under the Government's Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, the UK has supported projects in Pakistan to promote tolerance and religious freedom. The FCDO also funds programmes in Pakistan that directly address early and forced marriages and gender-based violence.