Pak on US 'special watch' list for severe violations of religious freedom

  • Pak on US 'special watch' list for severe violations of religious freedom

Pak on US 'special watch' list for severe violations of religious freedom

Noting that the protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity, Nauert said these designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries.

"As USCIRF has said for many years", he added, "Pakistan should be designated by the State Department as a CPC".

The US State Department on Thursday placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom. That alone has kept the State Department from singling the country out - until now.

"We recognize that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; we welcome these initiatives and look forward to continued dialogue". "@StateDept's preference for treading 'carefully" endures", Haqqani wrote.

Mark said it was a "surprise and disappointment" that Pakistan was not added to the list of CPCs, especially given President Donald Trump's past criticism of the nation, which has engaged in state-sponsored discrimination against religious minority groups, and has anti-blasphemy laws.

The White House warned Islamabad it would have to do more on the anti-terrorism front to receive United States aid. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.

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"There is no champion of the U.S. -Pakistan relationship to speak of now in this administration", he said.

The backlash has done little to discourage the White House. The Trump administration will reportedly announce plans to cut security assistance funds to the country. The law was passed during Bill Clinton's administration as an initiative to make religious freedom a key objective of USA foreign policy.

In a report last year, the Pew Research Center determined that over an eight-year period Pakistan is one of a small group of countries that "stand out as having the most restrictions on religion ... when both government restrictions and religious hostilities are taken into account".

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce, (R-CA) said the redesignation of Myanmar as a country of particular concern is particularly appropriate, given its military's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

In the United States, meanwhile, experts have become increasingly confused by Trump's escalating rhetoric.

Pakistan has yet to respond to Thursday's designation, although officials have indicated a longer response to Trump's comments is yet to come.