APPG members questions on Pakistan

APPG Chair on International Religious Freedom or Belief Baroness Berridge asked Her Majesty’s Government what projects they fund within the educational services in Pakistan that promote religious tolerance.

Lords Spokesperson on International Development Baroness Northover (LD): DFID’s provincial education programmes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces support the implementation of Pakistan’s 2006 reformed curriculum which includes teaching on religious tolerance and respect for diversity. In 2014 DFID support will benefit some 6.3 million children in school in Pakistan.

APPG vice-chair on International Religious Freedom or Belief Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB) asked Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the authorities in Pakistan arising from the decision of the Lahore High Court to reject the appeal of Asia Bibi, and to order her execution, following charges of alleged blasphemy.

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con): I am concerned to hear that a Pakistan court has upheld the imposition of the death penalty in the case of Asia Bibi. We support the EU’s recent statement of concern and hope that the verdict will be overturned on appeal. We regularly raise at the highest levels the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan both against Muslims and against religious minorities. We have consistently pressed the Government of Pakistan on the issue of the death penalty and expressed our principled opposition in all cases. We will continue to raise these issues.