WASHINGTON - As a young Christian girl charged with blasphemy is in captivity, a bipartisan group of six US senators has asked President Asif Ali Zardari to take immediate action for her release and also address the problem of religious intolerance against Hindus.

In a letter to Zardari, the senators said the recent cases of discrimination, including that of Rimsha Masih – who has been charged with blasphemy, have underscored the worsening situation for religious minorities in the country. They also expressed concern over the condition of Hindus in the country.

“Other religious freedom abuses raise further concerns about the protection of religious minorities. Hundreds of Hindus are fleeing Pakistan due to growing religious intolerance in the country,” they said.

“Among the acts alleged by Hindus leaving the country are harassment, theft, rape, kidnapping and forced conversion. Members of the Ahmadi community also continue to experience acts of murder, violence and discrimination, as do Shia Muslims,” the senators wrote.

They called for safety and equitable treatment to all Pakistanis, regardless of their religion. With the Christian girl yet to get bail in the blasphemy case, the senators urged Zardari to undertake a serious effort and work with the global community to address the problem and end the imprisonment of Rimsha.