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26.2.

2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 51 E/195

(2004/C 51 E/214) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2068/03


by Marco Cappato (NI), Maurizio Turco (NI),
Marco Pannella (NI), Olivier Dupuis (NI), Gianfranco Dell’Alba (NI)
and Benedetto Della Vedova (NI) to the Council

(20 June 2003)

Subject: Introduction of the Sharia in a province of Pakistan

The assembly of the Pakistani province of North-West Frontier has approved a draft law providing for the
imposition of the Sharia. All that is needed now is the signature of the provincial governor, because, in
this Pakistani province on the border with Afghanistan, Islamic law takes precedence over secular
provincial legislation and all Muslims are required to observe it. Moreover, in this Pakistani province the
authorities recently announced the establishment of a department of virtue and vice, which inevitably calls
to mind similar bodies set up by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Analysts regard the signing of the draft law by the provincial governor as a mere formality, so that, in a
few days’ time, Pakistanis living in North-West Frontier Province will be required to observe Islamic law, as
was the case in Afghanistan prior to the intervention by British and US forces.

1. Can the Council state what information it has regarding this situation?

2. What diplomatic representations it intends to make to the Pakistan Government with a view to
preventing the imposition of the Sharia in a province of that country?

3. What measures it intends to take to protect the fundamental principle of secularism against the risk
of abolition by majority fundamentalist groups, in some cases by means of ‘democratic’ procedures, a step
which serves to restrict or do away with the fundamental right to religious freedom recognised by
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Reply

(7 October 2003)

The Council would like to underline that the EU, in all dialogue meetings with Pakistan, stresses the
importance it attaches to respect for human rights: it will continue to do so on every possible occasion, in
particular by making confidential representations. The EU Heads of Mission in Islamabad follow
developments in the human rights area very closely and raise general matters and individual cases in the
course of their regular contacts with the authorities.

The Council shares the Honourable MEPs’ concerns over the approval of a draft law providing for the
imposition of the Sharia in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The Council has conveyed its
serious preoccupations over the situation at the Political Directors meeting that took place in Islamabad on
7 June 2003. The Council will keep the further evolution of this problem under close scrutiny, and will, if
necessary, decide on appropriate reactions.

(2004/C 51 E/215) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2069/03


by Véronique De Keyser (PSE) to the Commission

(17 June 2003)

Subject: Netherlands’ EUR 2 coin

The edge of the Netherlands’ EUR 2 coin bears a reference to a God. Can you tell me which God is meant?