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Christians (Pakistan)

Volume 536: debated on Thursday 24 November 2011

The Church of England is very aware of the issues facing the Christian community in Pakistan. Two dioceses in the Church of England have strong diocesan links in Pakistan, the diocese of Manchester with Lahore and the diocese of Wakefield with Faisalabad. Four members of the Manchester diocese are currently visiting Pakistan. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pakistan focus group was formed in 2006 to keep him informed of issues of significance in relation to Pakistan, to assist him in representing his views appropriately in Pakistan, England and elsewhere, and to maintain positive relations in support of the Church of Pakistan.

I thank my hon. Friend for that full answer. What initiatives have been taken to increase awareness among Pakistani-background Christians and Muslims in the UK of how they can support inter-faith religious harmony?

The Archbishop of Canterbury is very much concerned about the importance of good relations among Pakistani-background Christians and Muslims in this country. When Christian leaders from Pakistan visit the UK they are introduced to prominent Pakistani-background Muslims so that they are aware of the situation, and to encourage them to use their influence and contacts in Pakistan to support persecuted religious communities. The Church of England sent a delegation of both Christians and Muslims from the UK to Pakistan in 2009 on the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, to visit Christian and Muslim community leaders, Government Ministers and officials.