Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 28th April 2003.

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Photo of Mr Andy King Mr Andy King Labour, Rugby and Kenilworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Pakistan in relation to (a) the growth of Islamic militancy in the country, (b) the need to bring to justice perpetrators of past and current terror attacks on Christians and (c) the introduction of the Shari'ah Bill in the North West Frontier Province.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We regularly raise our concerns about sectarian violence and wider human rights issues with the Pakistani authorities both bilaterally and through the EU. On 7 February 2003 the Greek Presidency of the EU delivered a comprehensive demarche to the Minister of State (Law, Justice and Human Rights). The EU underlined our concerns at the recent attacks against Christian targets and urged the authorities to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. The EU also urged the Pakistani Government to provide greater protection to minority groups.

It is too early to make an assessment on the Sharia Bill. The North-West Frontier Province has yet to consider draft legislation proposing the adoption of Sharia law in the province. This law cannot be fully enacted until approved by both the federal and provincial Parliaments.

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