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US blacklists Pakistan over religious freedom violations, Islamabad calls it 'politically motivated'

The Trump administration on Tuesday designated Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia and seven others as countries of particular concern for having engaged in or tolerated "systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom."  

Reported by: PTI, Islamabad [ Published on: December 13, 2018 12:40 IST ]

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Pakistan on Wednesday rejected as "unilateral and politically motivated" the US' decision to place it on its blacklist of nations that infringe on religious freedom, saying the Muslim-majority country is a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths live together.
 
The Trump administration on Tuesday designated Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia and seven others as countries of particular concern for having engaged in or tolerated "systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom."
 
"Pakistan rejects the US State Department’s unilateral and politically motivated pronouncement released in the context of its annual religious freedom report," the Foreign Office said in a statement.
 
"Besides the clear biases reflected from these designations, there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self-proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise," it said.
 
Pakistan is a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together, including around 4 per cent of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, it said.
 
Ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan, the statement said.
 
"The Government of Pakistan has devised well establishment legal and administrative mechanisms to safeguard the rights of its citizens. Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities," it said.
 
The FO also called for an honest self-introspection to know the causes of exponential rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the US.
 
In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday said, "On November 28, 2018, I designated Burma (Myanmar), China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated "systematic, ongoing, (and) egregious violations of religious freedom." 

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