The United States said on Tuesday that it remains deeply concerned over restrictions imposed on the civil society, media, and other groups expressing opposition to Pakistan government's policies and noted that the citizens in the country continue to face human rights abuses and discrimination over their faith.
Delivering a statement during the US congressional hearing on Human Rights situation in South Asia, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells noted that dozens of Pakistanis have been put on death row, or serving life sentences on blasphemy charges.
"In Pakistan, we welcome the second peaceful transfer of power between two civilian governments in 2018, but remain deeply concerned on restrictions on civil society, media, and other groups expressing opposition to the government's policies," said Wells.
"With the pressure on those groups increasing in the past year, Pakistani citizens also continue to face human rights abuses and discrimination because of their faith. Pakistan's blasphemy laws have led to dozens of Pakistanis on death row, or serving life sentences in prison," she added.
Speaking on the Kashmir issue, Wells said that the US supports the rights of the Kashmiris to peacefully protest, but condemns the actions of those who seek to use violence and fear to undermine dialogue.
"We continue to impress upon Pakistan the need to take action against groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed "which seek to ferment violence across the line of control."
Wells said that both India and Pakistan need to initiate bilateral dialogue and reduce tensions along the LoC to enable people on both sides to live in peace and dignity. (ANI)