Pakistan seeks explanation from US over discrimination

Pakistan seeks explanation from US over discrimination

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has asked the United States why India was not on Washington’s ‘special watch list on the issue of religious freedom’ despite unending bloodshed in held Kashmir and grave violation of minorities’ rights, diplomatic sources said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that <link>Pakistan <link> had presented its case to the US <link> , challenging the ‘discriminatory’ watch <link>list <link> .

“If someone has to be put on that list <link> , it is <link>India <link> . They are the ones who have been killing the Kashmiris and butchering the minorities. We have urged the US <link> not to turn a blind eye to <link>India <link> ,” said one official.

He added: “We have sent details on the bloodshed in Kashmir (to the US). This includes pictures, videos and stories. We (Pakistan) have been put on the watch <link>list <link> just because we are not fulfilling the US <link> demands anymore.”

Another official said that Washington had told Islamabad the ‘watch list’ was not designed to target <link>Pakistan <link> . “This is not a pressure tactics. It only aims to improve the human rights,” he said quoting officials from Washington.

The official said <link>Pakistan <link> and the US <link>had “not lost contact” and efforts were on to improve the relationship.

Last month, the US <link> state department added <link>Pakistan <link> to a special watch <link> list <link>on the issue of religious freedom. Earlier, the US <link> suspended security assistance to <link>Pakistan <link> targeting the Coalition Support Funds.

This week, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US <link> Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the US <link> must acknowledge the steps <link>Pakistan <link> had taken for protection of human rights and rights of religious freedom. In a statement, he had said Islamabad was seeking a clarification from the US <link> on the watch <link> list <link> . “We have noted the announcement by the State Department about placement of <link>Pakistan <link> on a Special <link>Watch <link> <link>List <link> . <link>Pakistan <link> is seeking a clarification from the US <link> about its rationale and implications,” he added.