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Pakistan Denounces US Religious Freedom Report, Alleging Faulty Assumptions

Pakistan has dismissed the recent report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) as being founded on “unsubstantiated allegations” and “faulty assumptions,” arguing that it does not accurately portray the religious freedom situation within the country.

During the weekly press briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch stated, “The document was based on faulty assumptions and unsubstantiated allegations and was non-reflective of the ground realities in Pakistan.”

The USCIRF, tasked with evaluating threats to the fundamental right of religious freedom, labeled Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” in its 2024 annual report, citing systematic violations of religious freedom.

The report highlighted instances of violence against religious minorities and cited incidents such as the Peshawar mosque blast and the killing of a Sikh citizen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Despite acknowledging positive reforms by the Pakistani government, such as amendments to blasphemy laws, the report called for targeted sanctions on Pakistani government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.

Baloch criticized the USCIRF’s designation process, arguing that it lacked credibility and was influenced by double standards and geopolitical considerations. She highlighted the failure of the US State Department to act on USCIRF’s recommendation to designate India as a “Country of Particular Concern” since 2020.

Furthermore, Baloch strongly condemned the Israeli settlers’ attack on a Jordanian aid convoy en route to Gaza. She called on the international community to intervene and end what she termed as “Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Gaza.

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