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Persecution of Religious Minorities (Pakistan)

Volume 576: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2014

14. What recent discussions he has had with the Government of Pakistan on the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in that country. We remain deeply concerned about the persecution faced by Christians and other religious minorities and continue to raise that with the authorities in Pakistan at the highest level. My right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi most recently raised the matter with the Pakistani Prime Minister during her visit last October. (902797)

Many of my constituents have written to me about the persecution of Christians across the world and want British Government action. The Minister appears to recognise the sectarian bias, which is a significant problem in Pakistan. What talks has the Minister had with the Pakistani authorities to assist them in protecting all religious minorities?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that important issue. It is something that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes extremely seriously across the world. It is vital that Pakistan guarantee the rights of all its citizens regardless of faith and ethnicity. The UK Government are extremely active and raise issues of religious freedom on a regular basis. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met faith leaders in Lahore last year, and my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi has had frank discussions not just with the Prime Minister but with the national security adviser of Pakistan and the then Minister for National Harmony. We did so both on a bilateral and multilateral basis.