February 19, 2020 | 1:34 PM IST
Pakistan

Blacklisted for violation of religious freedom, Pak asks why ignore India

United States’ annual list of nations that violate religious freedom has riled Pakistan after it was included in the 2019 blacklist of ‘countries of particular concern’ (CPC). Pakistan’s foreign ministry termed the move as unilateral and arbitrary.

Pakistan has been on the list for two consecutive years and with it, eight other nations have been known to violate religious freedom.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui tweeted a press release stating that the blacklisting was a result of not only detached from the ground realities of Pakistan but also raises questions on the credibility and transparency of the entire exercise and it seemed as if selected countries had been targeted in the report and the designation will prove to be of no help in advancing the cause of freedom of religion.

Pakistan has also expressed its disappointment after India was not mentioned in the list even though the US Congress held two hearings over India’s treatment of Kashmiris and prolonged suppression of their fundamental rights in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

It may be noted that the US government had identified Pakistan as a CPC for having engaged in or tolerated ‘systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom’.

The blacklisted nations apart from Pakistan are Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

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