US Senators write to President Zardari, seek Christian girl’s release

Sep 02 2012, 00:55 IST
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SummaryAs a young Christian girl charged with blasphemy continued to be held in a Pakistani jail, a bipartisan group of six US Senators has asked President Asif Ali Zardari

As a young Christian girl charged with blasphemy continued to be held in a Pakistani jail, a bipartisan group of six US Senators has asked President Asif Ali Zardari to take immediate action to release her and also address the problem of religious intolerance against Hindus.

In a letter to Zardari, the Senators said the recent cases of religious discrimination, including the Christian girl, who is suffering from the down syndrome and has been charged with blasphemy, have underscored the worsening situation for religious minorities in the country.

They also expressed concern over the condition of Hindus in the country. “Other religious freedom abuses raise further concerns about the protection of religious minorities. Hundreds of Hindus are fleeing Pakistan due to growing religious intolerance in the country,” they said.

“Among the acts alleged by Hindus leaving the country are harassment, theft, rape, kidnapping and forced conversion. Members of the Ahmadi community also continue to experience acts of murder, violence and discrimination, as do Shia Muslims,” the Senators wrote.

With the Christian girl yet to get bail in the blasphemy case, the Senators urged Zardari to undertake a serious effort and work with the global community to address the problem of religious intolerance and end the unjust imprisonment of the girl.

The girl is currently being held at the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks are also being detained.

The bail hearing of the girl, whose judicial remand was on Friday extended by a court for 14 days at the request of the police, was on Saturday postponed till Monday.

Seven Shias killed in sectarian attacks

Islamabad: Seven Shia Muslims were shot dead on Saturday in two separate sectarian attacks by unidentified gunmen in Quetta city of southwest Pakistan, triggering violent protests from the community which left two more people dead.

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