Pakistan strongly responds against US State Department move

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Pakistan strongly responds against US State Department move

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has rejected the US State Department’s move to place it on religious freedom blacklist over “arbitrary and selective assessment”.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday said that State Department’s arbitrary and selective assessment under a US domestic legislation on religious freedom is rejected.

The response comes after Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and North Korea were categorised as “countries of particular concern” under US International Religious Freedom Act..

FO said that the designation of Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” is completely against the realities on the ground and raises serious doubts about the credibility of the exercise, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“Such subjective designations do not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide. Pakistan and the U.S. have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level, a fact regrettably overlooked by the U.S,” it added.

Pakistani society is multi-religious and pluralistic with a rich tradition of inter-faith harmony, it highlighted, adding that religious freedom and the protection of the rights of minorities are guaranteed by country’s Constitution and ensured through a range of legislative, policy and administrative measures.

The glaring omission of India, where the RSS-BJP regime and their leaders openly disregard religious freedom and discriminate against minority communities in an institutionalised manner, is unfortunate and puts the credibility of the U.S. report into question.