Pakistan: Blasphemy Laws

House of Lords written question – answered at on 20 January 2009.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Pakistan concerning alleged misuse of the blasphemy laws, and the case for their reform or repeal.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN)

With our EU partners, we regularly raise our concerns over the situation of religious minorities in Pakistan including the application of the blasphemy laws and the need to reform or repeal discriminatory legislation. Officials in London and Islamabad regularly meet with representatives of civil society and human rights organisations to monitor the treatment of minorities and inform our policy more widely. The UN Human Rights Council undertook a universal periodic review of Pakistan's human rights records in May. The UK participated in this dialogue and obtained a commitment from the Pakistani delegation that checks would be introduced to regulate investigations into allegations of blasphemy and apostasy.

Our high commission in Islamabad is also supporting programme and project work to enhance civil society's capacity to act as advocates for human rights, improve access to justice and promote human rights in Pakistan.

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