Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 7th June 2007.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of the number of blasphemy cases being heard in the Pakistani courts; and what representations she has made to the Pakistan government in the case of Younis Masih.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We follow closely the subject of blasphemy trials in Pakistan. We receive reports on blasphemy trials from human rights groups and monitor cases reported in the media.

We do not usually raise individual cases and have not recently made any representations to the Pakistani authorities on the case of Younis Masih. However, we regularly raise our concerns about blasphemy legislation and its effects on minority groups with the Government of Pakistan, both bilaterally and with our EU partners, and will continue to do so. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney, most recently raised this issue in correspondence with the Government of Pakistan in February.

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