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UK committed to flag rights concerns with Pakistan

ANI | Updated: May 23, 2018 18:27 IST

London [United Kingdom], May 23 (ANI): The British Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has expressed its deep concern over what it described as the abysmal human rights situation in Pakistan, and especially in that country's largest province, Balochistan.
In a letter to well known author and representative of the Sindhi Baloch Forum (SBF), Dr. Naseer Dashti, the Pakistan Team at the FCO recently said, "We are concerned about reports of activists in detention or missing in Pakistan. (The) UK is a strong supporter of human rights, including the freedom of opinion and expression."
"The freedom to hold and express views without censorship, intimidation or unnecessary restriction is a key indicator of the state of the country's democracy, and of the ability of citizens to participate in the development of their society, "the FCO letter added.
The letter further stated that the UK Government regularly raises its concerns about human rights with the Government of Pakistan at senior levels.
The FCO recalled that in November 2017, its Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, had raised the importance of safeguarding the rights of Pakistan's citizens with the Ministry of Human Rights. This, it said, was followed up with Lord Nasir Ahmed discussing London's concerns about ensuring the protection of minority communities in Pakistan with Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbalduring the latter's London visit in February 2018.
The FCO said that the British High Commission in Islamabad and the Deputy High Commission in Karachi has always supported and encouraged civil society to "lobby" the Government of Pakistan "to honour in practice its international commitments, including on freedom of expression.
The FCO, in its letter, reiterated that the British Government is in regular communication with the Government of Balochistan and other stakeholders, and continues to urge Islamabad to effectively meet "its international commitments, including on media freedom, law detention and prevention of ill treatment in custody." (ANI)