Denial of food aid to Christian and Hindu minorities in Pakistan, reported by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. UK Government Minister says “I share your concerns about religious discrimination and the plight of minorities who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak.”
Full Ministerial reply at this link:
Thank you for your email of 15 April about the reported denial of food aid to
Christian and Hindu minorities in Pakistan, as reported by the US Commission on
International Religious Freedom.
I share your concerns about religious discrimination and the plight of minorities who
are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak. During this period, we
continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of
its citizens, regardless of their belief.
We regularly engage, at senior level in Pakistan, on the mistreatment of religious and
ethnic minorities, including Pakistanis from the Christian, Hindu, Ahmadiyya,
Hazara, and Shia communities. I raised my concerns directly with Pakistan’s Human
Rights Minister in February this year.
I am currently speaking on a weekly basis with Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the
UK, His Excellency Nafees Zakaria, to discuss our approaches to the coronavirus
pandemic, and how the UK can support mitigation of the economic and health
impacts in Pakistan.
DFID recently announced wide-ranging support to help the poorest and most
vulnerable in Pakistan during the pandemic. I discussed this with the High
Commissioner on 21 April. The first in a series of measures, it will provide £2.67m in
funds for vital health support and help communities access the right information to
protect themselves, in 27 districts across all five provinces of Pakistan.
It will also provide £1m for the control of locusts in affected areas of Pakistan, which are having a devastating impact on crops and livelihoods. Over the coming weeks, a wider
package of support to Pakistan will see DFID’s programme of assistance repurposed,
to ensure it helps those most at risk during the crisis.
On 14 and 15 April, the Chancellor pushed G7 and G20 Finance Ministers to adopt an
ambitious Action Plan to support the global economy through the pandemic.
Ministers agreed to this plan, which included a historic debt service relief initiative
for developing countries. I welcome that Pakistan will be able to benefit from this.
LORD (TARIQ) AHMAD OF WIMBLEDON
Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict