Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Pakistan Development Programme

– in the Scottish Parliament on 20th November 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government how minority groups within Pakistan are being helped as part of Scotland’s Pakistan development programme. (S5O-03773)

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

Since 2013, through the British Council, the Scottish Government’s international development programme has provided scholarships in Pakistan to more than 500 women from disadvantaged backgrounds to study in higher education and to more than 4,000 children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Of those scholarships, 1,200 were provided to children from minority backgrounds and 35 to women from minority backgrounds.

Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

I seek assurance from the minister that, as he and other members of the Government have contact with the authorities in Pakistan, they will continue to argue for the case of minorities there. We hear about Christians being accused of blasphemy and

Ahmadis not being able to get identity cards.

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government strongly condemns the persecution of all minorities—including the targeting of innocent people based on their beliefs—and the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. The Scottish Government has repeatedly raised directly with the United Kingdom Government and officials from the Government of Pakistan concerns about the issues that John Mason mentioned, and we will continue to do so. We have been in contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which assured us that the British high commission in Islamabad will continue to support civil society and non-governmental organisations in lobbying the Government of Pakistan to honour, in practice, its international commitments, including those relating to freedom of belief.