Persecution of Ahmadiyya community and other minorities in Pakistan

I have been contacted by constituents following the raid on the headquarters of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan on 5th December 2016 and connected arrests.

I am very concerned that the Ahmadiyya community continues to suffer discrimination and targeted violence in Pakistan and elsewhere. Freedom of religion is one of the most fundamental of human rights and it is a matter of great concern that religious minorities continue to face persecution. Human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, regularly report about sectarian violence against religious minorities in Pakistan.

I am also aware that particular concerns have been raised about Pakistan's repressive blasphemy laws. Blasphemy allegations are often used to promote violence against religious minorities. I recognise that despite previous efforts the Government of Pakistan has been unable to amend or repeal blasphemy law provisions that give the pretext for violence.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated Pakistan a "human rights priority country" in its most recent Human Rights and Democracy Report noting, among other issues, the continued discrimination and targeted violence that religious minorities, including the Ahmadiyya, suffer.

The UK Government must continue to strongly condemn the persecution of all minorities, including the targeting of people based on their religion or beliefs. I also believe the UK Government should continue to raise matters of religious tolerance with the Government of Pakistan, as well as the importance of safeguarding the rights of all Pakistan's citizens.

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