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Pakistan Rejects U.S. ‘Biased and Arbitrary’ Religious Freedom Designation

Religious Freedom

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan firmly rebukes the U.S. State Department’s classification as a “Country of Particular Concern,” denouncing it as a “biased and arbitrary assessment.” The spokesperson for the Foreign Office (FO), Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, expressed strong disapproval, stating, “We categorically reject Pakistan’s designation as ‘a Country of Particular Concern’ by the U.S. State Department. We are deeply dismayed that the designation is based on biased and arbitrary assessment, detached from ground realities.”

Baloch emphasized Pakistan’s pluralistic nature, highlighting its rich tradition of interfaith harmony. She underscored that Pakistan, in alignment with its Constitution, has implemented comprehensive measures to promote religious freedom and safeguard minority rights.

The FO spokesperson raised objections to the list, particularly noting the exclusion of India, which she labeled as the “biggest and serial violator of religious freedom.” Baloch expressed concern over India’s omission despite recommendations from the U.S.

Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and public concerns raised by international human rights constituencies. She asserted that this omission raises serious questions about the credibility, transparency, and objectivity of the entire process.

Baloch characterized such discriminatory, unilateral, and subjective exercises as counterproductive, undermining the shared objective of advancing religious freedom globally. She called for constructive engagement and collective efforts based on mutual understanding and respect to counter religious intolerance, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.

Pakistan urged that its concerns about the designation are being conveyed to the U.S. side through bilateral engagement. Baloch reiterated Pakistan’s belief that addressing the contemporary challenges related to religious intolerance requires collaborative efforts grounded in mutual understanding and respect. The nation has actively engaged with the U.S. in this spirit to foster positive dialogue.

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