By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan has rejected the ‘US State Department’s unilateral and politically motivated pronouncement’ released on Wednesday 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,” a statement of Pakistan’s foreign office said.
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.
According to Associated Press news agency Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added Pakistan to the US list of “countries of particular concern” regarding protection for people to worship according to their beliefs.
The AP wrote the downgrade would expose Pakistan to potential American sanctions, but Pompeo waived those penalties, citing US national interests.
However, according to US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan will be exempt from US sanctions that affect countries blacklist for violation of religious freedom , Geo News reported .
Quoting a spokesman of the US Embassy in Islamabad, the TV channel reported the exemption granted to Pakistan would serve US interest.
Successive Governments, according to Pakistan’s foreign office, 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, foreign office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal said.
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, the spokesman said.