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Pakistan: Blasphemy

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made in the case of Qamar David on trial in Karachi, Pakistan. (201919)

We have not made specific representations in the case of Qamar David. But we strongly support freedom of religion, and condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief, wherever this occurs and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned. Both bilaterally and together with our EU partners, we have raised our concerns over the situation of religious minorities in Pakistan, and the excessive punishments prescribed in cases of blasphemy, and the frequent abuse of the blasphemy legislation. The UN Human Rights Council is undertaking a universal periodic review on the human rights records of a number of countries including Pakistan in May. The UK is participating in this dialogue and will raise the treatment of minorities during the process.

We will continue to raise the concerns of minorities with the new government and encourage reform or repeal of discriminatory legislation through the newly formed National Assembly.