US urges Pakistan to probe lawyer's killing

Rashid Rehman was allegedly shot dead for defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy.


Afp May 10, 2014
Rashid Rehman. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

WASHINGTON: The United States Friday called on Pakistan to investigate the killing of a lawyer shot dead for defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy.

"We were deeply saddened by the murder of Rashid Rehman, an attorney and human rights defender in Pakistan," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

"We encourage Pakistani authorities, as we have in similar cases in Pakistan and around the world, to swiftly investigate this crime and bring to justice those responsible."

Gunmen stormed Rehman's office late May 7 and started firing indiscriminately, killing him and injuring two others.

Psaki spoke as Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns was visiting Pakistan Friday at what he said was a "moment of opportunity" in US-Pakistan ties.

Burns met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as other top ministers and advisors and army chief General Raheel Sharif.

"After some difficult years, our relationship is on a positive trajectory - a trajectory we hope to not only maintain, but accelerate," Burns said in a statement.

Washington supported the prime minister's bid "to reestablish authority over all Pakistani territory in whatever way Pakistan deems appropriate."

And the US wanted to "especially urge him to sustain pressure on militant groups, deny them a safe-haven, and prevent cross-border attacks," Burns said.

"Militancy continues to threaten Pakistan's revival. Few countries have paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against extremism."

Ties have improved markedly since almost collapsing in 2011 amid a series of crises including the US raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The US has also reduced the number of drone attacks on the unruly border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan where al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents are believed to be hiding. Islamabad has publicly denounced drone attacks as a violation of sovereignty.

"Countering cross-border militancy and shutting down safe havens is critical not only for Pakistan's long-term peace and prosperity but also for positive relations between Pakistan and all its neighbors, including Afghanistan," Burns added.

COMMENTS (23)

Visal | 7 years ago | Reply

Xenia and all pakistanis do you belive that pure of land pakistan has no rape,because if source will given to you about pakistan rape then you will be die in shame.

goldconsumer | 7 years ago | Reply

@Lunacyassailam: Man! Are you an illusionist or have forgot to take your meds? A big LoL though. Made my day! For people like me living in the other side of your border, it gives me great pleasure to see people like you and alleged mass murderers soon to be PM of the country! Good luck with that! But do read our histoiry from 1980 onwards when we were the great ally of the US and we ourselves promoted extremism. Provided you do have some sense and sensibility to read and to understand i.e

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