Pakistan

US push Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws

Blasphemy

GENEVA: The United States has urged Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws and also take steps including enacting a legislation to penalize human trafficking.

Jesse Bernstein, representing US at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva on Monday, asked Pakistan to rescind blasphemy laws and grant the visit request of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

He also called for passing an anti-trafficking law “that prohibits and penalizes all forms of human trafficking.”

Meanwhile he commended Pakistan for passing the Hindu Marriage Act, which allows, for the first time, members of the Hindu community to register their marriages.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif is representing the Pakistani side at the UPR.

The foreign minister outlined the wide range of legislative, institutional, administrative and policy measures to advance and safeguard human rights in Pakistan. While highlighting the substantial progress made, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to promote human rights in the spirit of constructive dialogue, engagement and cooperation.

It is pertinent to mention here that the UPR recommendations are not binding, while it is important to take these recommendations, being part of the exercise. Also unlike UN conventions and their implementation, Pakistan has its choice to refuse to accept any recommendation by the working group.

India, represented by Sumit Seth, urged to dismantle special terrorist zones, safe havens and sanctuaries and take verifiable actions, including on “terror financing”.

Pakistan says India is trying to sabotage the UPR platform with propaganda.

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