US worried over rising extremism, intolerance in Pakistan

US worried over rising extremism, intolerance in PakistanWashington, Sep 14 - The US has designated eight nations as Countries of Particular Concern for "particularly severe violations of religious freedom", but spared ally Pakistan even as it expressed concern about increasing extremism and intolerance there.

"In Pakistan, the government has not reformed a blasphemy law that has been used to prosecute religious minorities and, in some cases, Muslims who promote tolerance or to settle personal vendettas," a US official acknowledged Tuesday, briefing reporters on a new report on International Religious Freedom.

"This year, there have also been several assassinations of those who called for reform of the blasphemy laws, including the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minorities," noted Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour Michael Posner.

But Islamabad has taken steps to address these rising concerns, he said, and "we will continue to engage with the government of Pakistan to address these issues, to promote tolerance, and to improve religious freedom".

"The increasing extremism in that society, I think, is worrying to everybody," Posner said. "I think the message here is we have great concern about the overall situation of extremism and intolerance in Pakistan, and we stand ready to work with the government to try to address that."

On the basis of the Congressionally mandated report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has designated Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan as "all of these countries have been long-term, chronic, and egregious violators of religious freedom", Posner said.

In China, the government's overall level of respect for religious freedom declined in 2010 and has worsened this year. The repression of Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims continues, he said. (IANS)

Other North American Countries: 
United States: 

Popular Stories

'What's been going on while I've been gone': Obama is back

New York [U.S.], Apr. 25 : A visibly relaxed and... Read More

North Korea cranks the heat, threatens to sink US ship

New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 : In a development bound... Read More

American monitor in Ukraine killed in explosion

New York [U.S.A.], Apr 24 : An American paramedic... Read More

Trump slams 'fake media' over low approval ratings

New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 : Continuing his assault... Read More

US warns North Korea after threat to sink American ship

New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 : Following North Korea's... Read More

Mexico will 'eventually' pay for border wall: Trump

New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 : With the Democrats and... Read More