Pakistani National Commission for Minorities

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Pakistani counterpart on (a) the relationship between future UK aid contributions to Pakistan and (b) the need for the Government of Pakistan to adhere to the internationally recognised standards outlined by the Paris Principles when setting up a National Commission for Minorities.

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

Our aid relationship with any government is based on an assessment of commitment to our Partnership Principles, including human rights. We will continue to raise human rights as a concern in our dialogue with the Government of Pakistan, including at our annual Bilateral Assistance Talks.

We welcome the establishment of the National Commission for Minorities. Most recently, Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon raised our concerns about human rights, including our concerns regarding Freedom of Religion or Belief and the National Commission for Minorities, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, in a call on 15 July and letter on 27 August. Our High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner CMG, discussed the National Commission for Minorities with Dr Mazari in a meeting on 8 June. We have highlighted to the Government of Pakistan the importance of ensuring the new Commission is established in line with the UN Paris Principles as it begins its important work, specifically focusing on its independence, funding and membership.

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