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Pakistan rejects US designation on religious freedom

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday rejected the US State Department’s arbitrary and selective assessment under a US domestic legislation on religious freedom, ARY NEWS reported quoting Foreign Office.

According to a statement issued today by Foreign Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the designation of Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” is completely against the realities on the ground and raises serious doubts about the credibility of the exercise.

“Such subjective designations do not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide,” the spokesman said adding that both the countries have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level, a fact regrettably overlooked by the report.

The foreign office said that Pakistani society is multi-religious and pluralistic with a rich tradition of inter-faith harmony.

“Religious freedom and the protection of the rights of minorities are guaranteed by our Constitution and ensured through a range of legislative, policy and administrative measures,” he said.

The foreign office spokesman while raising questions on the credibility of the report further highlighted the glaring omission of India, where the RSS-BJP regime and their leaders openly disregard religious freedom and discriminate against minority communities in an institutionalized manner.

While terming India’s omission as unfortunate, the foreign office said state complicity in organized violence against the Muslim minority in India is a matter of record.

“It is no secret that attacks by cow vigilantes and mob lynchings of Indian Muslims take place regularly, with complete impunity for the perpetrators,” he said adding that systematic demonization, dispossession, marginalization and targeted violence against Muslims using the communal slur of “love jihad” in Hindutva-inspired India has become commonplace.

Read More: U.S commission terms India ‘top religious freedom violator’ 

The findings and recommendations of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as the US Congressional hearings on the maltreatment of minorities in India and the violation of religious freedom all over the country including in the Muslim-majority Indian Illegally, Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) were ignored by the US State Department, the spokesman said.

He further said that Pakistan has raised the matter with the US authorities.

“We believe the redressal of the rising trend of intolerance, discrimination, xenophobia, and Islamophobia requires global efforts based on the principles of cooperation and mutual understanding,” he said adding that Pakistan is sincerely playing its part in this endeavor and will continue to do so.

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