The United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback made certain revelations regarding the situation of Hindu and Christian women in Pakistan. Brownback said that Pakistan has been marketing Hindu and Christian woman as concubines and forced brides to China. He highlighted how religious discrimination makes religious minorities in the country vulnerable.
Pakistan designated as Country of Particular Concern
Brownback said that this was the reason that Pakistan has been designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act. “We just had a really difficult webinar this morning on forced brides into China, and one of the source places is Pakistan religious minorities, Christian and Hindu women being marketed as concubines or forced brides into China because there’s not effective support, and then there’s discrimination against the religious minorities that make them more vulnerable”, he said.
Half of the people jailed for blasphemy are in Pakistan
According to reports, China is witnessing an acute shortage of women owing to a number of reasons including to its decades old one-child policy and the cultural preference for boys. This has led to Chinese men importing women as brides, mistresses and labourers. Replying to a question as to why the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Pakistan as CPC and not India, Brownback said that half of the world’s people locked in jail for blasphemy are in Pakistani prisons.
On December 7, Pompeo had designated ten countries including Pakistan and China as countries of particular concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations violations of religious freedom”. The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had recommended to the US State Department to include India as a country of particular concern but the recommendation was not accepted. Myanmar Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are the other countries on the CPC list.
“(In) Pakistan, a lot of their actions (violations of religious freedom) are done by the government. In India much of it is communal violence. And then when that takes place, we try to determine whether or not there has been effective police enforcement, judicial action after communal violence takes place”, Brownback told reporters during a conference call. The USCIRF observations in its annual report were rejected by India.