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US senators raise blasphemy case

September 04, 2012

WASHINGTON, Sept 4: A bipartisan group of US senators has urged President Asif Ali Zardari to protect Pakistan’s minorities from the misuse of the blasphemy law.

In a letter to the president, the senators expressed their concern over the arrest of a young Christian girl with Down’s syndrome for allegedly burning pages of Muslim holy books.

They noted that the girl had been in police custody since her arrest from an Islamabad suburb two and a half weeks ago and could face life in prison or even the death penalty under Pakistani law.

They called for ending the unjust imprisonment of the girl and for to ensuring protection of Dr Paul Bhatti, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interfaith Harmony. Noting that a “mere allegation” against the girl had forced Christians to flee her neighbourhood due to fear of retribution, the senators urged the Pakistani government to ensure their safety.

The letter also demanded an immediate end to violence against Hindus and Ahmadis.