Hague asks Humza Yousaf homosexual marriage vote reason 2023

William Hague has questioned the absence of paperwork behind Humza Yousaf’s contentious meeting with the Pakistan embassy on Scotland’s equal marriage vote.

“Unusual for ministers to work on this in an undocumented way,” said the Conservative peer who was foreign secretary during the meeting.

The First Minister has long said he could not attend the 2014 Holyrood vote due to a “unavoidable” meeting to address Mohammed Asghar, the mentally ill Scot on death sentence in Pakistan for blasphemy.

We discovered the government had no meeting minutes or briefing document.

The summit with the foreign government envoy was not addressed in later Scottish Government publications on the Edinburgh man’s condition.

Official car service Mr. Yousaf was escorted from parliament to the Glasgow consulate on the day, according to records. His conversation with the Pakistani government’s envoy in Scotland remains unknown.

Lord Hague told The Herald he would “be very surprised if the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] had not sent written advice and briefing for a meeting.”

After Kate Forbes declared she would not have supported equal marriage if she were in parliament, the SNP’s acrimonious leadership race turned to equal marriage.

Mr. Yousaf criticized his colleague, prompting a review of his voting record.

He was the lone minister to skip the important Stage 3 vote on 4 February 2014, despite supporting the legislation in Stage 1 in November 2013.

Meeting the Consul General 19 days before the vote caused a diary conflict.

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Former health secretary Alex Neil said the then-minister for external affairs was under “pressure from the mosque” to avoid the vote.

He said the meeting was “cover” for his absence.

Alex Salmond supported his account.

Mr. Yousaf continually refuted the charges, stating he could not have attended the meeting on any other day.

“This was an unavoidable meeting, not a meeting to just discuss policy or to have a chinwag about any old issue,” he told media during the leadership battle. This was about a Scottish citizen on death row in Pakistan whose family had openly begged for the authorities to help liberate him.

Jasmine, Mr Asghar’s daughter, said Mr Yousaf helped her father return to Scotland in 2016.

According to attorney Aamer Anwar, she “doubts her father would ever have died peacefully at home” without Mr. Yousaf.

A 27 January briefing paper advised Mr Salmond or Mr Yousaf to “make representations to the authorities in Pakistan.”

Mr. Yousaf’s boss, Fiona Hyslop, wrote to the Consulate of Pakistan on January 28 to “express the deep concerns of the Scottish Government about Mohammed Asghar, the 65 year old man from Edinburgh (with dual British and Pakistani nationality) who received the death sentence on 23 January.”

Next day, Mr. Salmond spoke to Punjab governor Mohammad Sawar.

He encouraged the ex-Glasgow Central MP to “take all necessary steps to ensure Mr Asghar’s safety and security.”

The Scottish Government’s next paper, dated 19 February, was a brief for Mr Yousaf before meeting with Mr Asghar’s lawyer, Sarah Bilal.

It lists the Scottish Government’s actions, including Ms Hyslop’s letter to the Pakistan Consul General and Mr Salmond’s chat with Mr Sarwar.

Mr Yousaf spoke to Mr Asghar’s daughter on February 5.

The 4 February meeting is not mentioned.

Ms Hyslop wrote to the Pakistan Consul General on 28 January and received “an acknowledgment and we are waiting for a meeting.”

The briefing paper indicates that the Scottish Government, on Foreign Office advice, wants to retain a low profile “to give the Pakistan authorities the room to manoeuvre on this and not push them into a corner.”

It notes that blasphemy proceedings in Pakistan are controversial and that foreign activism and media coverage of cases involving dual nationals or minority groups “is frequently misrepresented as criticism of Islam and/or an example of Western double standards.”

“We are very mindful of the need to avoid a public debate or release of information that could hinder prospects of resolving the case as soon as possible. That is a worry because increasing public attention on this matter might delay progress and hurt Mr. Asghar.”

Lord Hague added, “Such cases are highly sensitive, with great attention to detail required so that messages to a foreign government are co-ordinated and that no misunderstandings arise in making a case for compassion.

“While I do not think it out of the ordinary that a minister in a devolved administration would want to contribute to the efforts made, and the FCO had no reason to reject any such assistance, I would be very surprised if the department had not sent written advice and briefing for a meeting.

In Whitehall, ministers seldom attend such meetings without an official and notes.

“The FCO would have wanted to know what was said and expected a report.”

He added it was “unusual for ministers to work on this in an undocumented way” and might raise suspicions that “something might be amiss here”.

Alex Salmond asks Humza Yousaf’s homosexual marriage vote reason

“Extensive searches on Scottish Government files and systems confirmed the timing and location of the meeting,” a spokeswoman stated in response to Lord Hague.

This is in addition to ministerial activities already disclosed. No more related documents was identified.

“Mr. Asghar’s family expressed gratitude to the First Minister for helping return their father.

“The Scottish Government is transparent. Our records management policy specifies that information and records must be preserved as long as needed to fulfill the Scottish Government’s business and legal commitments.

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