Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned terrorists and violent extremists who target religious minorities, including Hindus in Pakistan and Muslims in Myanmar.
Pompeo made the comments on Wednesday while launching a 27-nation International Religious Freedom Alliance, which will try to adopt a collective approach in protecting and preserving religious freedom across the world.
"We condemn terrorists and violent extremists who target religious minorities, whether they are Yezidis in Iraq, Hindus in Pakistan, Christians in northeast Nigeria, or Muslims in Burma," Pompeo said.
"We condemn blasphemy and apostasy laws that criminalize matters of the soul. We condemn the Chinese Communist Party's hostility to all faiths. We know several of you courageously pushed back against Chinese pressure by agreeing to be part of this Alliance, and we thank you for that," he said.
"Finally, our Alliance is off on the right foot as countries do their parts to advance this mission," the top American diplomat said.
Among the prominent countries to join the alliance are Australia, Brazil, the UK, Israel, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Greece. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.
Majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with their Muslim fellows.
There have been several reports of forced conversion of Hindu and Sikh girls who are then married off to Muslims in Pakistan.
The All Pakistan Hindu Council on January 26 said a Hindu girl was abducted from her wedding ceremony, forced to convert to Islam and married off to a Muslim man in Sindh province.
India on January 28 summoned a senior official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and issued a strong demarche over the abduction of the Hindu girl.