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ICC Note:

In a report released by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. government has highlighted the suffering of religious minorities in Pakistan, including Christians. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that Pakistan has failed to bring perpetrators of religious violence to justice and has failed to provide security for religious minorities and their places of worship. The report highlighted last September’s bombing of All Saints Church as an example of religiously motivated violence that must be stopped. Will the U.S. or Pakistan now take steps to protect Pakistani Christians and other religious minorities? 

7/29/2014 Pakistan (Zee News) – Pakistan is yet to take steps to bring to justice those responsible for attacks against religious minorities in the country, a US State Department report has said.

“In Pakistan, militants killed more than 500 Shia Muslims in sectarian bloodletting and brutally murdered 80 Christians in a single church bombing last year. The Pakistani government has yet to take adequate steps to bring those responsible to justice,” Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday after releasing the annual Congressional Report on International Religious Freedom for the year 2013.

At the same time Kerry praised the people of Pakistan for standing against violence against religious minorities.

“In Pakistan, following the militant attacks I just mentioned, members of the Muslim community formed human chains around churches to demonstrate solidarity against senseless sectarian violence,” he said. US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom Malinowski, told reporters that in Pakistan, violence targeted at members of religious minorities and human rights defenders underscored the government’s failure to provide adequate security.

“Earlier this year, we were deeply saddened by the murder of Rashid Rehman, a lawyer and human rights defender who, despite threats to his life, was representing a university professor accused of blasphemy. And authorities continue to enforce blasphemy laws and laws designed to marginalise the Ahmadiyya Muslim community,” the report said.

These laws continued to restrict religious freedom, and remained the most visible symbols of religious intolerance, the State Department said in its report.

“Meanwhile, the government took some limited steps in response to major incidents of violence against members of religious minority communities, such as condemning attacks against Shia and Christian worshipers and adding some additional security measures, but generally failed to take adequate steps to hold accountable those responsible for the attacks,” the report said.

“There were continued reports of law enforcement personnel abusing members of religious minorities and persons accused of blasphemy while in custody,” it said.

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