Home Uncategorised US designates Pakistan for religious freedom violations – New Delhi Times

US designates Pakistan for religious freedom violations – New Delhi Times

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By NDT Pakistan Bureau

On December 18 2019, the US retained Pakistan among the countries that openly practice religious discrimination. The determination includes Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan among the states re-designated as “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)”.

The State Department makes these designations under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and countries on the CPC list are classified as “having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom”. Countries in this category can face further actions, including economic sanctions, by Washington.

Pakistan, as usual, rejected its listing by the United States as a violator of religious freedoms, saying the “unilateral and arbitrary designation” is detached from the ground realities of Pakistan and raised questions about the credibility and transparency of the entire exercise.

A stunned Pakistan tried to divert the issue by baselessly questioning the “conspicuous omission” of India from the list, and blamed the “subjectivity and bias” and “selective targeting of countries,” of the US State Department’s designations that is unlikely to be helpful to the professed cause of advancing religious freedom.

Pakistan incarcerates women from the Christian community such as Asia Bibi in jails. Girls of minority communities in Pakistan are kidnapped and forcibly converted and married to Muslims. Cricketer Danish Kaneria was discriminated for his Hindu roots. But Islamabad shamelessly declares that “Pakistan is a multi-religious and pluralistic country where people of all faiths enjoy religious freedom under constitutional protections.” It emphasizes that all branches of the government – the executive, legislature and the judiciary – ensure free practice of religion and higher judiciary provides landmark judgements for ensuring the sanctity and security of places of worship of minorities.

Pakistan claims to have engaged with the international community, to develop a better understanding of religious freedom. Senator Samuel Brownback, the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, came to Pakistan for dialogue to advance the religious freedom globally. (Was he there to secure Asia Bibi’s release?) It is deplorable that the situation has not improved even after the visit. A rattled Pakistan resorted to red-herring tactics by baselessly criticising the omission of India calling it “the biggest violator of religious freedom,” Pakistan, without any concrete proof, alludes to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as religious discrimination while raising false concerns on rising Islamophobia of the West.

Pakistan is unnecessarily trying to drag India into this list. Pakistan is a theocratic state – an Islamic Republic – founded on the basis of religion whereas India is a secular country. By persistent persecution of religious minorities, Pakistan has reduced minorities’ numbers. Hindu population has dwindled down from 23 to 3.4 per cent now. the US has not lied on Pakistan. There is no future for non-Muslims in Pakistan, period! Time for Pakistan to wake up and stop the ‘persecution’ of minorities there. The writing on the wall is very clear. Pakistan should be happy its best buddies made the list.

Pakistanis are either ignorant, dumb, deaf or possibly blind to link anything to everything, but all minorities flourish in India. Muslim population has grown tremendously in India. Where are Pakistan’s Hindus?

Pakistan must get real and defend something that is defensible. It obviously has a problem with religious discrimination whether it’s marriage/blasphemy or whatever. Islamabad hits the front-page news on every worldwide newspaper every few months. Truth hurts. There can be no comparison between Indian minorities and Pakistani minorities. Religion-specific laws are always repressive in Pakistan like blasphemy laws or Nazi Germany. India has no blasphemy Laws. CCA offers citizenship for persecuted minorities from fundamentalist Islamic country like Pakistan. India has more Mosques than any Muslim country. Muslims are free to preach their religion. India never sends citizens to death for religious views.

In Pakistan, the state directly persecutes people through blasphemy and anti-Ahmadi laws. That’s why Pakistan is in the list. Pakistan might be trying to equal India in all respects but there can be no comparison in any sphere.

It is not known whether statistics is taught in Pakistan. If done, stats must be looked at, as stats don’t lie. Numbers do not lie. World’s second largest Muslim population reside in India. By 2050, it will be the largest. The new CAA law is only for illegal immigrants.

Photo Credit : Getty Images

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