USCIRF Condemns Church Bombings in Pakistan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25, 2013| By USCIRF

On Sunday September 22, reportedly the worst attack on Pakistani Christians in that nation's history took place. On that day, two suicide bombers attacked the All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, as services were ending, killing at least 83 and wounding over 150 others.

"USCIRF condemns the vicious attack on peaceful worshipers leaving church services and calls for the Government of Pakistan to bring those involved to justice,” said Robert George, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). "Mere words will not do. The government of Newaz Sharif must take robust measures to end violence against Christians and other religious minorities and the cycle of impunity that plagues Pakistan. Arrests and prosecutions will send a powerful message that the government takes seriously its responsibility to protect citizens of all faiths.”

USCIRF's 2013 Annual Report underscored the fact that Pakistan represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom for countries that the U.S. government does not currently designate as "countries of particular concern.” USCIRF's Religious Violence Project found that religious freedom violations in Pakistan have risen to unprecedented levels, and the government continues to fail to protect Christians, Shi'a, Ahmadis, and Hindus.

"Especially given this violence, it is long past time for the U.S. to designate Pakistan as a "country of particular concern” (CPC) for these ongoing and egregious violations, said Chairman George.

USCIRF calls on Pakistan to launch a nationwide effort to end the activities of banned militant groups and arrest and prosecute their leaders and any members perpetrating acts of violence against religious minorities. USCIRF also urges the Pakistani government to provide visible security protection for vulnerable minority religious communities, including Christians, Shi'a, Ahmadis, and Hindus.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact Kalinda Stephenson at 202-786-0613 or kstephenson@uscirf.gov.

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