ASIA/PAKISTAN - "Release Rimsha": U.S. Senators' Letter to President Zardari

Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - A bipartisan group of six U.S. senators wrote a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari, demanding the release of the Christian Rimsha Masih, the minor arrested on charges of blasphemy, and more effort to combat religious intolerance in Pakistan. In the text of the letter, of which a copy was sent to Fides, the senators note the need to "ensure a safe and fair treatment, according to the law, to all Pakistani citizens, regardless of their religion," recalling that the recent cases of religious discrimination, including that of Rimsha Masih, denote "a worsening of the situation of religious minorities in the country. The text points out that, as in the case of Rimsha, the blasphemy law "continues to harass innocent people." "We urge your government - it says - to do more to prevent abuses and violence committed against Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus and other religious minorities, as well as to members of the Muslim community." The U.S. politicians hope, therefore, that Zardari may undertake a "serious effort to end Rimsha’s unjust detention. The letter was signed by Senators Robert Menendez, Roy Blunt, Ben Cardin, Mark Kirk, Bob Casey, and Mike Johanns. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 01/09/2012