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Pakistan: Politics and Government

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 15 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to raise the current political and security situation in Pakistan at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Uganda. (164352)

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) met in London on 12 November to discuss the situation in Pakistan, and issued a Statement. The Statement is available on the Commonwealth’s website at:

My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, represented the UK at the meeting.

The situation will be discussed further when CMAG meets on 22 November in Kampala, immediately prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the number of Pakistani citizens who have been detained by the authorities in Pakistan under the state of emergency. (164353)

It is not possible to put a figure on the number of people detained following the declaration of the state of emergency. There are various estimates ranging from a few hundred to several thousand. The situation is very fluid. Some of the detainees have been released.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear in a statement to the House on 7 November 2007, Official Report, columns 130-132 that we condemn the mass detentions of politicians, lawyers and human rights activists, and call for their immediate release. It is vital that the Government of Pakistan act quickly to restore the constitution, hold free and fair elections on schedule, honour the President’s commitment to step down as army chief and lift restrictions on the media.

Our high commission in Islamabad has raised its concern for the welfare and safety of all those in detention at the highest levels. Close attention is being paid to their treatment and preparations are under way to visit or contact as many as possible.