Pakistan: Religious Freedom:Written question - HL11556

Asked on: 19 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the state of freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan.
A
Answered on: 03 December 2018

We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan. The British Government strongly condemns the persecution of all minorities, including the targeting of innocent people based on their beliefs. Pakistan is one of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) human rights priority countries, as set out in the FCO's 2017 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report available at the gov.uk website.

We regularly raise the issues of freedom of religion and belief and the protection of minority religious communities, with the Pakistan government at a senior level. When the Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Imran Khan in August, she highlighted the importance of Pakistan delivering on its commitments to strengthen institutions responsible for upholding the rule of law, and to advance the rights of minorities. I raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, in September 2018.

Under the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, the British Government has supported projects in Pakistan to promote greater tolerance and religious freedom.

The UK raised concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief at Pakistan's UN Universal Periodic Review of human rights in November 2017. We pressed Pakistan to strengthen the protection of minorities, including by establishing an independent National Commission for Minorities from all faith communities.

We continue to urge Pakistan to take the steps necessary to comply in full with its human rights obligations, including engaging with the UN and other international bodies, and to ensure that the rights of minorities are respected.

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