Pakistan strongly react against US over placing Islamabad in religious freedom blacklist, taking India out

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Pakistan strongly react against US over placing Islamabad in religious freedom blacklist, taking India out

*ISLAMABAD: **Pakistan strongly react against US over placing Islamabad in religious freedom blacklist, taking India out.*

Islamabad has categorically rejected the US State Department’s “unilateral and arbitrary” decision of keeping Pakistan in its 2019 annual blacklist for religious freedom violations.

Pakistan was kept in the list for a second year while India was ignored, despite its targeting of Muslims over cow slaughter allegations, occupied Kashmir lockdown and the latest citizenship act on communal lines.

Nine countries, including Pakistan, remained on the State Department’s annual list of “countries of particular concern” for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”. Sudan is the only nation removed from the blacklist.

Pakistan was designated in 2018 after years of US hesitation over concerns on the treatment of minorities.

According to the announcement made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pakistan’s name featured in the list of countries, which are subject to sanctions over religious liberty.

“This pronouncement is not only detached from ground realities of Pakistan but also raises questions about the credibility and transparency of the entire exercise.

The designation is reflective of selective targeting of countries, and thus unlikely to be helpful to the professed cause of advancing religious freedom,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement on Tuesday.

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