Rights of women and girls and freedom of religion in Pakistan examined
24 June 2021
The House of Commons International Development Committee is holding a public evidence session in its inquiry UK aid to Pakistan. The session is due to explore both the status of women and girls and that of religious minorities in the country in order to assess whether UK aid is targeted effectively to intervene in these areas.
- Watch Parliament TV: UK aid to Pakistan
- Inquiry: UK aid to Pakistan
- International Development Committee
Tuesday 29 June 2021 (Virtual meeting)
- Session will be conducted with remote participation by witnesses and Committee members
- Asma Balal, Country Director, Pakistani reproductive health social enterprise, the Marie Stopes Society
- Kamyla Marvi, Pakistan Director, diaspora-led international development organisation, the British Asian Trust
- Professor Javaid Rehman, Professor of International Human Rights Law, Brunel University and Senior Legal Advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Pakistan Minorities
- Professor Mariz Tadros, Director, Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development
Purpose of the Session
The session will be divided into two panels, with the first concentrating on the rights of women and girls. Questions to the panel will aim to reveal the extent to which the rights of women and girls in Pakistan are upheld and how well UK aid is tackling these issues - especially in light of recent aid cuts by the government.
MPs may ask: whether UK aid reaches the most vulnerable and marginalised women; about the impact of Covid-19 on women and girls; and about safety concerns surrounding these aid programmes.
This part of the session may also examine how the actions and views of the Pakistani government have influenced UK aid programmes and whether the UK could better use its diplomatic influence to promote the rights of women and girls in Pakistan.
The second panel will seek information on what life is like for religious minorities in Pakistan and how well UK aid is tackling discrimination against religious minorities. This will include looking at how well UK aid is addressing the use of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
Questions to the panelists may also examine how the aims of UK aid regarding religious minorities align – or otherwise - with the actions and views of the Pakistani government and if the UK Government could also better use its diplomatic influence to promote the rights of religious minorities.