Mr President, it was shocking, but sadly not surprising, to receive the news that Governor Taseer has been murdered. I personally knew Benazir Bhutto, and Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has become a good friend of mine. What links all three of them is their amazing courage as vocal and visible critics of blasphemy laws and their abuse by extremist groups.
The Government of Pakistan has indeed taken several important steps to improve the rights of minorities, for example by allocating a minimum quota in public jobs. The Government has also formed a committee to review all discriminatory laws, including the blasphemy law. However, the work has not yet finished. Despite several major steps, so long as there is a legal loophole, such as that in the current blasphemy law, so massive that it enables terrorists and extremists to push their own agenda forward, it is difficult to believe in a true commitment to democracy.
I hope that, with this resolution, we can express our continuing solidarity with the Government of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and the spread of extremism.