Pakistan lodges protest with US over inclusion in religious freedom blacklist

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Pakistan regrets Indian decision of postponing Kartarpur meeting

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office Wednesday lodged strong protest with senior US diplomats over the US decision to place Pakistan on the blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday he had designated Pakistan among the “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally-mandated annual report, which means that the US government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations.
According to reports, the US diplomats were summoned to the Foreign Office and handed over a protest letter.
The officials assured Pakistan of conveying its concerns to the US authorities.
Earlier in a statement, Foreign Office spokesman said that Pakistan rejecte the US State Department’s unilateral and politically motivated pronouncement released today in the context of its annual religious freedom report. 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.
Pakistan is a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together. Around 4 percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Budhists and Sikh faiths. Ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan. Special seats have been reserved for minorities in the Parliament to ensure their adequate representation and voice in the legislation process. A vibrant and independent National Commission on Human Rights is functioning to address concerns on violation of the rights of minorities.
Successive Governments have made it a priority that rights of citizens belonging to minority faiths are protected as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution. The higher judiciary of the country has made several landmark decisions to protect the properties and places of worships of minorities.
As a party to 7 out of the 9 core human rights treaties, Pakistan is submitting its compliance reports on its obligations with regard to fundamental freedoms. The Government of Pakistan has devised well established 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.
Sadly, the proponents of human rights worldwide close their eyes on systematic persecution of minorities subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. An honest self introspection would also have been timely to know the causes of exponential rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the US.

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