Pakistan: Christians

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th October 2009.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to make representations to the Government of Pakistan concerning the attacks on the Christian settlement in Taiser Town (Khuda ni Basti), Karachi, that took place on 22 April.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Labour

We have not made representations about the incident in Taiser Town but the most recent EU demarche on 16 December 2008 called on the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to protect effectively freedom of belief and freedom of expression and to reform discriminatory legislation, in particular blasphemy laws. This demarche also called on the Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, to find opportunities and means to raise awareness about abuses against minorities and to increase their representation at all levels.

Bilaterally, both in London and through our high commission in Islamabad, officials regularly raise the treatment of minorities with their Pakistani interlocutors and will continue to do so. My honourable friend the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Gillian Merron, met Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs, during her visit to Pakistan in February 2009. She raised concerns about the difficulties faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and the misuse of blasphemy legislation.

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