A bipartisan group of seven US lawmakers have expressed concern over human rights violations in Pakistan’s Sindh province and urged the State Department to place it on priority during interactions with the country. The lawmakers wrote a letter dated August 17 which was addressed to acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells and US ambassador to Pakistan David Hale.
“We write to express our concerns about human rights violations in the Sindh province of Pakistan. With the US undertaking a review of policy towards Pakistan, and the recent political leadership changes in that country, we urge you to place a priority on human rights and democracy in your interactions with the government of Pakistan,” said the letter by Congressmen led by Brad Sherman, Chair of the Congressional Sindh Caucus.
Other signatories to the letter were Carolyn Maloney, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Adam Schiff, Barbara Comstock, TrentFrank, and Dana Rohrabacher. “We urge you to work with the government of Pakistan to seek the release of persons held on false charges in Sindh, to protect religious freedoms of the Sindhi people, to end the forced conversions of minority Sindhi girls and women, and to take stronger steps upholding human rights in Sindh,” it said. Noting that the people of Sindh face religious extremist attacks, the Congressmen said Sindh has historically welcomed people of all faiths and ethnicities, and is home to significant communities of Christians, Sufis, and Hindus.
“While the numbers are unclear, reports suggest that every year, over 1,000 girls and young women in Pakistan,including many in Sindh, are forcibly converted upon marriage.The Pakistani government has not done enough to stop this practice, and reform measures are circumvented or not enforced,” they wrote.
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