US designates Pakistan on blacklist on religious freedom
Pakistan on Wednesday rejected its designation on a US blacklist on religious freedom saying it is “completely against the realities on the ground.”
US Defense Secretary Mike Pompeo on Tuesday announced that Washington has placed Pakistan, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, North Korea, Myanmar and Eritrea on its “violators of religious freedom” list.
Islamabad said its “views in this regard” have been conveyed to Washington.
"Such subjective designations do not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Criticizing the list for ignoring India where minorities are being specifically targeted under the Narendra Modi government, the statement added: "The glaring omission of India, where the RSS-BJP regime and their leaders openly disregard religious freedom and discriminate against minority communities in an institutionalized manner, is unfortunate and puts the credibility of the US report into question."
Despite the defensive stance adoptive by Islamabad, the rights of minorities in the country have been a cause of concern with many rights group including Amnesty International urging the government to up its game.
In Pakistan, “blasphemy” allegations are often made on the basis of little or no evidence, resulting in mob violence that has in more than one instances claimed lives.