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Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Volume 497: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to encourage the Pakistani Government to repeal laws which discriminate against Christians. (293658)

The UK supports freedom of religion and condemns persecution because of faith or religious belief. We view the difficult situation facing religious minorities with concern and regularly raise human rights concerns both bilaterally with the Government of Pakistan and together with our EU partners.

Alongside our EU partners the UK continues to encourage the Government of Pakistan to repeal or amend the blasphemy laws to reduce the misuse of legislation to discriminate against minority groups, including Christians. In December 2008 the EU called upon the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to effectively protect freedom of belief and expression, and to reform discriminatory laws such as the blasphemy laws. In August 2009 the EU also raised the attacks on Christians in Gojra and Koiran in Punjab.

We continue to encourage Pakistan to fulfil it commitments under the UN Human Rights Council. During the last Periodic Review in May 2008 we secured a commitment from the Government of Pakistan that checks would be introduced to regulate investigations into allegations of blasphemy that affect minority groups.