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Pakistan: Christianity

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of (a) closures of churches in Pakistan and (b) the treatment of Christians in that country; what recent representations he has made to the government of Pakistan on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (259539)

We have not received reports of closures of churches in Pakistan. Our officials in London and in Islamabad regularly meet with representatives of civil society and human rights organisations to monitor the treatment of minorities and inform our policy more widely. During these discussions, the closure of churches in Pakistan has not been raised as a concern.

With our EU partners, we regularly raise our concerns over the situation of christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. We have called for the government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, take measures to protect freedom of religion or belief and repeal or reform discriminatory blasphemy legislation.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have also met with organisations representing minority groups in Pakistan and have raised human rights concerns with the Government of Pakistan.