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Campaign and petition email responses | Statement on the situation in Pakistan

Campaign and petition email responses

Statement on the situation in Pakistan

The SNP does not want to see the Punjab descend into a constitutional crisis.


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) claimed that “it is not possible to hold and organise the elections honestly, justly, fairly, in a peaceful manner”, blaming security threats and financial problems. It said it would be unable to provide a “level playing field” to all political parties as a result.


It is understood that their order violates a supreme court ruling earlier this month that a new election be held within 90 days of the Punjab assembly being dissolved.


Former prime minister Imran Khan says the Election Commission’s move is a violation of Pakistan’s constitution and this has inflamed tensions and sparked demonstrations.


We as a Party of democracy and the rule of law wish to see a poll date for the province of Punjab in Pakistan as soon as it is practically possible with the upmost security in place.


Upholding democracy through free, credible and inclusive elections is a basic human right.


There is no place for violence in politics and SNP Members of Parliament in Westminster regularly call on the UK Government to make representations to senior members of the Pakistan Government of the need to uphold the rule of law and respect human rights.


  • From the UK Government’s most recent responses, it does not appear to us that the UK Government is taking this situation as seriously as it should be and has not requested meetings with key officials or embassy diplomats in recent months.



Governing authorities around the world should not be suppressing peaceful protests. It is a fundamental part of a healthy democracy. Freedom of expression, of assembly and of the press are fundamental rights that every government must respect and facilitate the exercise of, including our friend and ally Pakistan.


Protecting human rights and the freedom of religion or belief for minority communities continues to be central to the Scottish Government’s engagement in Pakistan.


The Government of Pakistan must take all-inclusive actions to defend, encourage and ensure all rights of Pakistani citizens irrespective of their political, religious, social and medical background and will all upon them to do so in the strongest possible terms.


We seek reassurances from the Pakistani Government that they will extend constitutional, legal, political and educational reforms to improve the lived experiences of all persecuted communities in Pakistan, but we remain appalled at the slow pace of progress and worry that this is deliberate.


The SNP First Minister Humza Yousaf and Scottish Government officials are in regular dialogue with counterparts in the Government of Pakistan. For example, First Minister Humza Yousaf met Shehbaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan in London on the 7 May 2023. On 10th May the First Minister said:


"The situation in Pakistan, a country very close to my heart, is deeply disturbing. We stand with others in the international community calling for calm, and importantly for respecting the principles of the rule of law and democracy."


We support peaceful democratic processes and adherence to the rule of law and we are continuing to monitor the situation in Pakistan.


Rest assured, myself and my fellow SNP Members of Parliament in Westminster will continue to urge the UK Government to press the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the rights of all its citizens, regardless of their political belief, and preserve the tenets democracy.

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