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Pakistan exempted from US sanctions

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration has exempted Pakistan from sanctions that affect the countries added to the US annual list of nations that violate religious freedom, ARY News reported.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waived sanctions in the US national interest.

 Earlier, the Foreign Office rejected the US State Department’s “unilateral and politically motivated” blacklisting of Pakistan over alleged violation of religious freedom.

“Pakistan rejects the US State Department’s unilateral and politically motivated pronouncement released today in the context of its annual religious freedom report,” the Foreign Office said in a statement today.

“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. Around 4 per cent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Budhists and Sikh faiths, it added.

The statement said ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Moreover, it said 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, it added.

It said 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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