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US report criticizes Pakistan, India over treatment of minorities

WASHINGTON: US government commission on religious freedom has stated Pakistan is one of the least religious tolerant country in the world, ARY News reports on Saturday.

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its report has stated that the country continues to experience sectarian violence targeted towards the minorities despite that its armed forces are engaged in efforts to fight the Taliban. It also states that blasphemy laws of the country and anti-Ahmadi violate religious freedom.

At least 70 people were killed in twin explosions at Peshawar’s All Saints Church.

Fifteen people were killed in suicide attacks at saint John Catholic Church and Christ Church in Lahore

The report also urges the government to promote religious tolerance through its textbooks and academic curriculum. It suggests the United States leadership to force their Pakistani counterpart to implement the orders of the Supreme Court regarding the formation of a special police formed ro protect religious groups and individuals from religious attacks.

A woman holds the sign reading “Stop Killing In The Name Of Islam” during a protest in Pakistan

On the other hand, the USCIRF report has also criticized Narendra Modi’s Indian government over its policies regarding the minorities. It mentions that the individuals who convert from Hindu to other religions face more reaction in the provinces who do not allow conversion laws.

Hindu activists shouting slogans during a protest in India

Activists of a Hindu party during a protest in India

 

The commission’s reports also criticizes Obama’s government by commenting that Muslim communities are also kept in undue detention and scrutiny due to US’ justification of eliminating terrorism from the country. It has suggested the U.S. leadership to “Integrate concern for religious freedom into bilateral contacts with India, including the framework of future Strategic Dialogues, at both the federal and provincial level, and encourage the strengthening of the capacity of state and central police to implement effective measures to prohibit and punish cases of religious violence and protect victims and witnesses.”

The report also states that “The Evangelical Fellowship of India has documented more than 38 incidents targeting Christians in November and December 2014 alone. In September 2014, police arrested nearly 150 people in the state of Gujarat after violence left dozens, mostly Muslims, severely injured.”

USCIRF has mentioned that the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan had the most number of religiously motivated attack.

USCIRF is government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act that monitors the universal right to freedom of religions or beliefs abroad.

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