May 2023

“There is deep concern over the Home Secretary’s Comments Regarding the British Pakistani Community.”

The British Pakistan Foundation with a wide membership of prominent Pakistani businesspeople and professionals remains deeply concerned by recent comments made by the Home Secretary Suella Braverman regarding the characterisation of our community in relation to sexual exploitation of young girls. Whilst we acknowledge the Home Office’s clarification in recent correspondence with the Foundation that these comments do not reflect government policy and linking ethnicity to these crimes is not supported by the evidence. We find it disconcerting that the Home Secretary continues to deny the explicit nature of her statements.

The Home Secretary’s repeated remarks on national television in interviews with Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC and Sophie Ridge on Sky television as well as other media channels speak for themselves and there is no ambiguity in what she said. Such generalisations perpetuate harmful stereotypes that unfairly stigmatise an entire community. This has caused a great deal of outrage and upset amongst the community.

We appreciate the Home Office’s acknowledgement of our concerns; however, it is essential that our elected officials take responsibility for their words and recognise the impact they have on the erosion of trust and public perceptions more generally.

The British Pakistan Foundation urges the Home Secretary to engage directly with our community to understand the depth of our concerns and the negative affects her remarks have had. We call upon the government to ensure that all officials, especially those in influential positions are responsible in the use of language, that it should not be dishonest or misleading or factually untrue and that it should be evidence based. Otherwise, the detrimental impact on community cohesion and social harmony can be significant.

We are dedicated to promoting understanding, respect, and equality and believe that constructive dialogue and collaboration are key to a successful society. We stand ready to engage with the Home Secretary and her office to foster a more inclusive and informed approach to public discourse that upholds the principles of fairness and justice for all.

British Pakistan Foundation