“USCIRF condemns this monstrous act of violence against a peaceful religious community and extends its condolences to the families of the victims,” said USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo. “This is just one more example of the results of ongoing intimidation, thuggish threats and violence against the Ahmadi community in Pakistan. The Taliban-associated extremists find cover in the anti-Ahmadi laws in the Constitution, Pakistan’s egregious blasphemy law, and the government’s unwillingness to protect the religious freedoms of this community. The government of Pakistan must take responsibility for changing this situation.” .
USIRF’s statement said the agency has “documented systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion in Pakistan for several years,’ . Sectarian and religiously-motivated violence is chronic, and the government has failed to protect members of religious minorities from such violence and to bring perpetrators to justice. Religiously discriminatory legislation, such as anti-Ahmadi laws and the blasphemy law, foster an atmosphere of intolerance in the country and embolden extremists.”