US Added Pakistan for ‘violations of religious freedom’ After Current Tension Between US & Pak

Islamabad says it is committed to human rights and claims that it is facing a backlash from its campaign against terrorism.

Days after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut US aid to Pakistan, the State Department placed the South Asian Islamic country on a special observation list for “grave violations of religious freedom” under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.

The move came three days after Trump, in his first tweet of the New Year, accused Pakistan of providing safe haven for terrorists, despite receiving billions of dollars in aid over the years.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $ 33 billion in aid over the last fifteen years, and they’ve given us nothing but lies and deceptions because they see our leaders as fools.” They give the terrorists we chase in Afghanistan , with little help, a safe haven. No more! “Wrote Trump.

Islamabad has rejected the US step and stated that it is not based on objective criteria.

“Pakistan is determined to promote and protect human rights, including the right to religious freedom enshrined in its constitution, and the Government of Pakistan has taken far-reaching legislative, institutional and administrative measures to ensure the full implementation of the constitutional guarantees.” said the Foreign Ministry on January 6.

The Trump government has stopped US $ 900 million in US security assistance to Pakistan.

Days after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut US aid to Pakistan, the State Department placed the South Asian Islamic country on a special observation list for “grave violations of religious freedom” under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.

The move came three days after Trump, in his first tweet of the New Year, accused Pakistan of providing safe haven for terrorists, despite receiving billions of dollars in aid over the years.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $ 33 billion in aid over the last fifteen years, and they’ve given us nothing but lies and deceptions because they see our leaders as fools.” They give the terrorists we chase in Afghanistan , with little help, a safe haven. No more! “Wrote Trump.

Islamabad has rejected the US step and stated that it is not based on objective criteria.

“Pakistan is determined to promote and protect human rights, including the right to religious freedom enshrined in its constitution, and the Government of Pakistan has taken far-reaching legislative, institutional and administrative measures to ensure the full implementation of the constitutional guarantees.” said the Foreign Ministry on January 6.

The Trump government has stopped US $ 900 million in US security assistance to Pakistan.

Pakistan accused the United States of adopting double standards. “It is surprising that countries where systematic persecution of religious minorities is known have not been included in the list, which reflects the double standard and political motives behind the listing and is therefore implausible,” the ministry added, without a country to call.

Pakistan said its anti-terrorist campaign had served as a bulwark against the proliferation of numerous terrorist organizations in Afghanistan – a fact recognized by the US authorities at the highest level.

Pakistan’s successful counter-terrorism cooperation against Al Qaeda had resulted in a brutal backlash by Pakistan, including the killing of hundreds of schoolchildren by terrorists in Afghanistan, a statement by the Pakistani National Security Committee said on Jan. 2.

On January 4, the Trump administration announced that it had suspended all security assistance to Pakistan until it demonstrated its commitment to the fight against all terrorist groups operating in the region.

In addition to Pakistan, the US Secretary of State Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on December 22 also described as “particularly worrying countries”.

Every year, the US determines governments that have, as particularly worrying countries, committed or tolerated systematic, continuing and monstrous violations of religious freedom.

“Protecting religious freedom is crucial to peace, stability and prosperity, and these terms are designed to enhance respect for religious freedom in these countries,” states a US statement.

It also acknowledged that several designated countries were working to improve religious freedom.

“We welcome these initiatives and look forward to continued dialogue, and the United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations and religious leaders to promote religious freedom throughout the world,” he added.

Meanwhile, minority representatives said that the US has plenty of rights to put Pakistan on the watch list.

Father Abid Habib of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Union of Major Superiors also expressed concern about the situation of religious freedom in the country.

“The memory of the recent slaughter in Quetta still haunts us, the facts are there for everyone,” he said, referring to the suicide bombing on December 17 at the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Baluchistan province. Nine worshipers were killed and more than 50 were wounded in an attack that triggered severe measures for the churches at Christmas and New Year.

“Terrorists are small, but where do they get their inspiration from? I’m even scared to talk over the phone,” Father Habib told ucanews.com.

“Any attempt to correct the controversial blasphemy laws causes chaos in the country, and leaders literally hate Ahmadis and remain silent when their homes are attacked, and the silence of Muslim countries on atrocities in the name of Islam is frightening.”

The Capuchin Father welcomed the suspension of US security aid for Pakistan. “The state, like the church, relies on foreign aid, and it is time for us to stand on our own,” he said.

Anjum James Paul, chairman of the Pakistan Teachers’ Union on Minorities, said the education system in Pakistan is free of religious freedom.

“Muslim students can study Islam, but minority students are forced to study ethics as an alternative subject, they are deliberately kept from studying their religion, they are often targeted and therefore feel insecure even in institutes,” said the Catholic Activist citing Sharoun Masih, a Christian student who was murdered last August by a classmate in a state school.

“Those who target officials who support religious minorities will later become heroes, punishments for religious crimes against minorities are easy, and the constitution is also ambiguous when it comes to the rights of religious minorities,” Paul said.

Saleem ud Din, a spokesman for the Pakistani Ahmadis, acknowledged that the situation for their minority community had deteriorated in 2017.

“I will announce for the first time that we will boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections,” he said.

“We were further marginalized by a recent electoral law that approved a separate electoral roll for Ahmadis, and we are being treated as a low caste in our own country.

“We had no connection whatsoever with the now-retracted amendments to the election statement, but we were the main target of hate speech by radical groups during their recent sit-ins in Islamabad.

“The US watchlist makes no difference because we have been subjected to systematic state prosecution since the 1970s.”

Saleem ud Din said that 300 Ahmadis have been killed in Pakistan during the last three decades due to religious beliefs.

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