Washington: The US has asked Pakistan to end "mistreatment" of minorities and reform its controversial blasphemy law which has "fueled acts of violence and intimidation", days after a mentally-challenged Christian girl charged under it was granted bail by a court in Islamabad.
"In Pakistan, we welcome the release of the young Christian girl charged with blasphemy, and we welcome the steps Islamabad has taken to recognise religious minorities and promote national harmony.
"Still, we continue to call on Pakistan to end the mistreatment of minorities and reform blasphemy laws," US Deputy National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough said in his address to the international religious freedom meet at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
His comments came five days after 14-year-old Rimsha Masih, who was falsely accused of blasphemy, was granted bail by a Pakistani court, a case that sparked international concern.
In his major speech on religious freedon, McDonough said: "In Pakistan, blasphemy laws and failures or delays in addressing religious hostility has fueled acts of violence and intimidation and emboldened violent extremists."
Turning to China, McDonough said government policies in Tibetan areas threaten the distinct religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people, creating tensions and contributing to a situation where dozens of desperate Tibetans have resorted to self-immolation.
He charged that China continues to outlaw and imprison the worshippers of religious and spiritual groups, including unregistered Christian churches and Tibetan Buddhists.
"In addition to the President's personal advocacy and engagement that I've already mentioned, the need for China to uphold the freedom of religion is a key element at other levels of our engagement with China," he said.


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