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John Kerry Was Urged To Raise The Issue Of Asia Bibi With The Government Of Pakistan

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A group of South Asia experts submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to address increasing religious persecution in Pakistan.

John Kerry visits Pakistan
John Kerry visit to Pakistan

According to media reports, US Secretary of State John Kerry was urged to raise the issue of increasing religious persecution during his recent trip to the region for the U.S.–Pakistan Strategic Dialogue this week. Regrettably, Secretary Kerry did not openly raise U.S. concerns on sensitive and controversial issues such as Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws often associated with rising incidents of violence against religious minorities in Pakistan. However, instead John Kerry focused more on encouraging Pakistan to carry on its battle against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists that recently attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar.

Noticeably, one of the most familiar cases of religious persecution grounded on blasphemy laws in Pakistan is the blasphemy case against a Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi. Asia Bibi, a farm worker, got into a quarrel with a Muslim woman over carrying a water bowl; the Muslim woman alleged that Asia Bibi, as a Christian, was not qualified to touch the bowl and thus accused her of blasphemy in 2009. However, few months earlier the Lahore Court upheld the death penalty for Asia Bibi. John Kerry was urged and expected to raise the issue of Asia Bibi with the Pakistani government.