USA puts Pakistan on watch list for religious freedom violations

Ebony Scott
January 6, 2018

The State Department announced that it's placing the South Asian nation on a special watch list, pursuant to 2016 legislation.

The state department said that the decision reflects Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done enough against these two groups which have long sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan killing the USA and other forces. According to US officials, two main categories will be affected; Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Coalition Support Funds (CSF).

The United States has placed Pakistan on a special watch list for "severe violations of religious freedom".

Eritrea and Sudan, are the only two African nations recently re-designated by the United States as "countries of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for having engaged in or tolerated egregious violations of religious freedom.

In a statement, issued on Thursday, the USA state department added Pakistan to a special watch list, while re-designating a group of other countries as being of "particular concern" on the issue of religious freedom.

Pakistan is ready to face any USA action, the country's defense minister and the army spokesman said. "These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries".

"This reflects the double standards and political motives behind the listing and hence lacks credibility".

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Speaking to a private news channel, he said Pakistani nation's collective response to the Trump's tweet was a positive sign. In his tweets , Trump blamed Pakistani leaders of covering up their misdeeds with "lies and deceit".

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"The protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity", the State Department said in their statement.

Even Shia Muslims are sometimes snared by the blasphemy laws in the country, where an overwhelming majority of the Muslims - close to 95 percent of the 195 million population, according to some estimates following the 2010 census - are Sunni.

Sabah adds: While stating that US President Donald Trump is frustrated but also values a partnership with Pakistan, the US National Security Adviser HR McMaster has alleged Islamabad only goes after terrorists selectively while it sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy.

The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.

US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley also said Washington would withhold Dollars 255 million in assistance to Pakistan.

Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry issued a statement on Friday noting that it was engaging with the U.S. on the issue of security cooperation. "Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats".

Other reports by GizPress

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