To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Government of Pakistan on protecting the religious freedoms of Christians in Pakistan.
9 February 2022
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 his visit to Pakistan on 23 and 24 June 2021, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia, met Prime Minister Khan, as well as other senior government ministers, and discussed our concerns. He met interfaith leaders to understand the situation of Pakistani minorities. Most recently, he discussed the need to promote respect for all religions with Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, on 28 November. In June, BHC Islamabad officials met the Pakistan Christian Forum Women's Fellowship, and in July visited Faisalabad, and met Christian religious leaders there. This was followed by a visit to Peshawar in September, where officials engaged with the Christian community there.
The shocking murder of a Christian priest, and wounding of another, in late January in Peshawar was a disturbing indication of the violence faced by Pakistan's minorities, as was the brutal killing in Sialkot of a Christian Sri Lankan national last December. Lord Ahmad and the British High Commissioner have both publicly condemned these attacks, and the High Commissioner has raised with senior Government officials.