Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

(1) whether he has held discussions with the new government of Pakistan on the treatment of religious minorities and the use of the blasphemy laws;

(2) if he will urge the government of Pakistan to fully repeal the blasphemy laws.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The UK strongly supports freedom of religion. We condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief, wherever this occurs and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned. Both bilaterally, and together with our EU partners, we have raised our concerns with the Government of Pakistan over the situation of religious minorities, including the excessive punishments prescribed in cases of blasphemy and the frequent abuse of the blasphemy legislation. We will continue to raise the concerns of minorities with the new Government of Pakistan and encourage reform or repeal of discriminatory legislation through the National Assembly.

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