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Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 121675, tabled on 9 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the implementation of the 19 June 2014 judgement by the Pakistani Supreme Court on the protection of religious minorities.

Answered on

22 February 2022

The murder of a Christian priest, and wounding of another, in late January in Peshawar was an indication of the violence faced by Pakistan's minorities - as was the killing in Sialkot of a Christian Sri Lankan national last December. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia, and the British High Commissioner have both publicly condemned these attacks, and the High Commissioner has raised with senior Pakistani Government officials. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs continue to suffer violence and discrimination, including from targeted killings, and damage to their places of worship. The UK has made clear to the Government of Pakistan that freedom of religion of belief remains a priority.

The UK welcomed the establishment of Pakistan's National Commission for Minorities in 2020, after the Pakistani Supreme Court mandated that the federal government form a national council for minorities. However we remain concerned that the National Commission for Minorities does not adhere to the UN Paris Principles, specifically on lack of autonomy, resources and investigative powers. We are pressing for passage of a bill to strengthen the minorities' commission so to better align it with the Paris Principles.

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