The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Monday rejected the designation as “a country of particular concern” by the US State Department, saying the listing was based on “biased and arbitrary assessment” and was “detached from ground realities”.

Last week, the US State Department issued its annual religious freedom watchlist, where it kept Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, and many other nations as “countries of particular concern for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom”.

However, Pakistan’s foreign ministry showed dismay over inclusion of the country’s name in the list, saying, “Pakistan is a pluralistic country, with a rich tradition of interfaith harmony … Pakistan has undertaken wide ranging measures to promote religious freedom and protect minority rights”.

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The list designated Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, Comoros, and Vietnam as special watch list countries for “engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom”.

It also designated al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS-Sahel, ISIS-West Africa, al-Qaeda affiliate Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimin, and the Taliban as entities of particular concern.

However, the US department did not include India in the list despite recommendation by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) as well as public concerns raised by international human rights constituencies about India’s maltreatment of religious minorities.

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“We note with deep concern that India, the biggest and serial violator of religious freedom, has once again been excluded from the U.S. State Department’s designation list.

“We remain convinced that such discriminatory, unilateral and subjective exercises are counterproductive and undermine our shared objective to advance religious freedom globally,” the foreign ministry’s statement read.

Comments

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Notsurprised Jan 08, 2024 06:45pm
Very unfair. We should be labelled as EXTREME CONCERN. Our society is as intolerant and extremist as it gets. Why deny it.
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KU Jan 08, 2024 07:15pm
Country of particular concern we are and headed towards a republic where humans of Pakistan will have no rights.
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TimetoMoVVeOn Jan 08, 2024 07:27pm
While this may seem like a bad news, look at the bright side. considering all the happenings in Pakistan this is the least of Pakistans problems. An entire generation is not going be heard or matter in the upcoming elections. So this designation is no big deal.
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Parvez Jan 08, 2024 10:20pm
The more we do their bidding.....the more they kick us.
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