The Chairman of the Kashmir Committee in the National Assembly of Pakistan, Maulan Fazl ur Rehman, met with Dr Sajjad Karim MEP today ahead of International Human Rights Day tomorrow.
The two men held constructive talks in the European Parliament and spoke on several issues, including the persecution of minorities in Pakistan and dual national citizens. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the EU, H.E Ms Naghmana A. Hashmi, was also present in the meeting.
Dr Sajjad Karim MEP, Chairman of the influential Friends of Pakistan group and Conservative Legal Affairs Spokesman, highlighted the need to ensure more protection for minorities in Pakistan. In particular, Dr Karim is working tirelessly with the British and Pakistani government to ensure Asia Bibi, a Christian citizen in Pakistan accused of blasphemy, is released from death row.
Dr Karim said today: “I speak of somebody who comes from a minority community in Europe, I – along with many in Pakistan I am sure – have great sympathy for minority groups in Pakistan. It is befitting that we hold this meeting on the eve of International Human Rights Day, I am hope our message of protecting human rights for everybody is shared from today’s meeting.”
Chairman Maulan Fazl ur Rehman also raised the issue of citizen’s rights. Dr Karim, the first British Muslim MEP, said: “I am a dual national, a British-Pakistani citizen. In Britain I have full rights and have been elected as a European Parliamentarian for the last ten years. However in Pakistan, according to the current constitution, I would be regarded as a second class citizen.”
Dr Sajjad Karim MEP is set to travel to Pakistan in March to collect the Sitara-i-Qaid-i-Azam award – Pakistan’s highest national civil award – to honour his work in EU, UK and Pakistani relations.