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Hazara Population (Pakistan)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 3 May 2011

10. What recent reports he has received on the condition of the Hazara population in Pakistan; and if he will make a statement. (53529)

The Hazara community in Balochistan has been the subject of sectarian terrorist attacks for some years, although they lessened to some degree in 2010. We remain concerned, however, about the protection of minority communities and minority rights in Pakistan, and about the general instability in the Balochistan region.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer, and indeed for his meeting with members of the Hazara community in Milton Keynes recently. Is he prepared to get a representative of our high commission in Islamabad to meet the Hazara leaders in Pakistan, to ensure that their voice is heard and that the UK is well placed to end this persecution?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right; we keep an eye on this matter, and we should do so. Last year, representatives from our high commission met Syed Nasir Ali Shah, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly for Quetta, and Jan Ali Changezi, who is also a Parliamentary Assembly member and the Minister for Quality Education in Balochistan. We take these issues very seriously, and we are aware of concerns that have been expressed by the community here and in Pakistan. We will continue to raise these issues in support of minority communities. We hope that the inter-faith committees that might be set up by the Pakistan Government will include Hazara representation.