Maira Shahbaz

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with his Pakistani counterpart on the decision by the Lahore High Court that 14-year old Maira Shahbaz must stay married to a man who allegedly abducted her at gunpoint in that country.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We are closely monitoring Maira Shahbaz's case following her reported abduction in April. We are concerned about women's and girls' rights and ongoing reports of forced marriage and forced conversion in Pakistan, including such reports of this happening to women and girls from religious minorities such as Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls.

We regularly raise our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, women and girl's rights and gender equality with the government of Pakistan at a senior level. Most recently, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon raised our human rights concerns with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 15 July.

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