Martyn Day – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Martyn Day on 2016-03-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he will make representations to the government of Pakistan on its blasphemy laws and the potential for the death penalty to be imposed for breach of those laws.

Mr Tobias Ellwood

UK Ministers regularly raise the blasphemy laws, which have been misused against both Muslims and others, with the authorities in Pakistan. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) and the Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) have discussed human rights concerns, including blasphemy laws, with Prime Minister Sharif.

I raised our concerns directly with the Pakistani High Commissioner in London. As a priority, I encourage the Government of Pakistan to reduce the number of offences attracting the death penalty, which currently includes blasphemy, and to abide by its international obligations. The Foreign Secretary reiterated UK opposition to the death penalty during his visit to Pakistan this week.