US asks Pak to abolish blasphemy laws

Prime News, International, (Lahore), November 14:-The United States (US) has asked Pakistan to abolish its blasphemy laws at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva on Monday, Dawn reported.

Representatives from the US and the United Kingdom (UK) stressed on religious intolerance and human rights violations and abuses in Pakistan.

While US representative Jesse Bernstein emphasised on the urgent need of an anti-trafficking law that prohibits and penalises all forms of human trafficking, UK representative Miriam Shearman agreed with the issue of Pakistan’s lack of freedom for religious minorities.

The US representative recommended that Pakistan must “undertake, track and report” investigation and prosecution of security forces who commit human rights violations.

“We are also concerned about the International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) policy restricting operations of non-violent organisations,” Bernstein said.

The UK representative recommended that Pakistan should establish an independent National Commission for Minorities from all faith communities, who should be allowed to appoint their own representatives.

The Pakistan delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif.

However, Pakistan has freedom to refuse or accept any recommendation by the working group of the UPR. Pakistan will be announcing its decision on the recommendations it would accept on Thursday.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. It’s also a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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