Written question HL233: The Lord Bishop of St Albans 28-06-2017

Asked on: 28 June 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the adjournment of Asia Bibi's appeal, what representations, if any, they have made on her behalf to the government of Pakistan regarding reports that (1) there is a lack of information about when her appeal will be heard, and (2) that she is still being kept in solitary confinement.
A
Answered on: 12 July 2017

We remain concerned about Ms Bibi, following the postponement of her Supreme Court appeal hearing in October 2016. The British High Commission in Islamabad continues to monitor developments in her case closely. Moreover, we also regularly raise the need to uphold the protection plus rights of religious minorities and misuse of the blasphemy laws with the Pakistani Government, and continue to urge Pakistan to adhere to its international obligations and uphold the rule of law.

The Foreign Secretary raised religious tolerance and misuse of the blasphemy laws during his visit to Pakistan in November 2016. The then Minister for Asia and the Pacific (Mr Sharma) discussed Pakistan's blasphemy laws with Kamran Michael, Pakistani Minister for Human Rights, and Barrister Zafarullah Khan, the Prime Minister's Special Assistant for Human Rights, during his visit to Pakistan in January 2017.

The UK supported the EU statement, following the decision of the Lahore High Court, to uphold Ms Bibi's conviction. We continue to work with our international partners to ensure our views are made clear to the Pakistani authorities.

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