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Pakistan affirms minority rights amid US probe call

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Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch on Thursday said Pakistan was fully determined to protect and promote the constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms of the individuals belonging to religious minorities.

In a statement, she said Pakistan could not accept the intolerant and violent acts in yesterday’s incident in Faisalabad as a country of law and constitution.

The statement came as the United States urged Pakistan to investigate mob attacks against churches and Christian homes that broke out in Punjab on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people attacked a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of Faisalabad after over blasphemy allegations.

“We are deeply concerned that churches and homes were targeted in response to reported Koran desecration in Pakistan,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

He said that while the United States backed free expression, “violence or the threat of violence is never acceptable.”

“We urge Pakistani authorities to conduct a full investigation into these allegations and call for calm,” he said.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has strongly condemned the reprehensible incident that took place in Faisalabad yesterday where churches were targeted and that hurt the sentiments of Christians across the country, she said. She said these acts are illegal and unconstitutional.

“Our law enforcement authorities took swift action yesterday. They have been instructed by the prime minister to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice,” she added.

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