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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday rejected the US designation as a "country of particular concern" through "arbitrary and selective assessment" under a domestic legislation on religious freedom, saying the glaring omission of India from the list was unfortunate and puts the credibility of the US report into question.

"Pakistan rejects the US State Department's arbitrary and selective assessment under a US domestic legislation on religious freedom. 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," Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, while commenting on the US government designation of Pakistan among nine other countries as "countries of particular concern" for alleged violations of religious freedom.

The spokesperson asserted that such subjective designations did not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide.

"Pakistan and the US have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level, a fact regrettably overlooked by the US," he added.

He stated that Pakistani society was multi-religious and pluralistic with a rich tradition of inter-faith harmony. Religious freedom and the protection of the rights of minorities are guaranteed by our Constitution and ensured through a range of legislative, policy and administrative measures, he 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 institutionalised manner, is unfortunate and puts the credibility of the US report into question," he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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