Ahmadiyya Times

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Minorities abused in Pakistan as no religious freedom: US

The annual US State Department Report on Global Religious Freedom, which was released by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday, said “organised violence against minorities have increased” in Pakistan.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: MSN News | India
By Agencies | November 18, 2010

Washington: The US on Thursday expressed concern over the discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, saying serious problems remain with regard to religious freedom in the country.

“There have been attacks against Christians, against the Ahmadis. There’s still discriminatory laws on the books, blasphemy laws, anti-Ahmadi laws. We’re raising these issues with the government of Pakistan,” said Michael Posner, the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

The annual US State Department Report on Global Religious Freedom, which was released by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday, said “organised violence against minorities have increased” in Pakistan.

“Organised violence against minorities increased; for example, there was violence against Christians in Gojra, Punjab, and a terrorist attack on Ahmadis in Lahore, Punjab,” it said, adding “There were instances in which law enforcement personnel abused religious minorities in custody”.

The Ahmadiyya community continued to face governmental and societal discrimination and legal bars to the practice of its religious beliefs. Members of other Islamic sects, Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus also reported governmental and societal discrimination, the report said.

Despite the government’s steps to protect religious minorities, the number and severity of reported high-profile cases against minorities increased during the reporting period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Posner, responding to questions after the release of the annual Religious Freedom report, said one of the things this report does is identify, in Pakistan and elsewhere, government actions that contribute to the problem.

It expressed concern over discriminatory legislation and the government’s failure or delay in addressing religious hostility by societal actors fostered religious intolerance, acts of violence, and intimidation against religious minorities.

During the reporting period, US embassy officials closely monitored the treatment of religious minorities, worked to eliminate the teaching of religious intolerance, and encouraged the amendment or repeal of the blasphemy laws, it added.

Source: Agencies

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Filed under: Annual Report, Blasphemy, Human Rights, Minorities, persecution