The Foreign Office is engaged in a court battle to defend the secrets of the foreign aid budget, amid claims that British money could be supporting the use of the death penalty in Pakistan.
Foreign Office lawyers are fighting off a legal challenge to force them to reveal the warnings issued by civil servants to ministers over support for the Pakistani counter-narcotics police.
Reprieve, the anti-death penalty charity, is seeking the release of a human rights “checklist” completed by diplomats before aid can be disbursed.
Britain gave £338 million to Pakistan last year, making it the biggest single recipient of UK aid. It has included millions of pounds for anti-drugs operations, in a country where drug trafficking carries a capital sentence.
Some 8,000 people on death row, including 23 Britons and more 100 drug offenders, now face hanging after Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty last December.
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