Washington - The US has asked Pakistan to release more than 40 members of the religious minorities facing blasphemy charges and also to appoint an envoy to address the various religious freedom concerns in the country. Speaking at the release of the annual report on the International Religious Freedom of the State Department for the year 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted how the Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi of blasphemy, sparing her the death penalty after she spent nearly a decade in prison.

“More than 40 others remain jailed for life, or face execution on that very same charge. We continue to call for their release, and encourage the government to appoint an envoy to address the various religious freedom concerns,” Pompeo said.

 “The report we’re putting out today, then we will make other determinations off of this report. But we put them on the special watchlist,” Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, told reporters.