Giving another massive blow to Pakistan, the US today has put the country on a special watch list for “severe violations” of religious freedom. The decision came days after US President Donald Trump blasted Pakistan in a fiery tweet. “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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump tweeted. Earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announced that the US will re-designate about 10 countries as ‘Countries of Particular Concern’. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “The secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom,”
“Too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief,” Nauert said. “Today, a number of governments infringe upon individuals’ ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief, worship in accordance with their religion or beliefs, or be free from coercion to practice a particular religion or belief,” she added.
In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, she said the secretary of state annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom as ‘Countries of Particular Concern’.
In the recent days, the US Pak relationship is going through turbulent times with leaders from both the countries exchanging some heated arguments. National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who heads the body, told the media after the meeting that there should be “balanced response” to the statements from the US.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday alleged that U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent remarks against his country showed that he was “talking in the language of India”. Briefing the Parliamentary Committee on National Security about tension between Pakistan and the U.S. following Mr. Trump’s remarks, Mr. Asif said the U.S. is making Islamabad a scapegoat for its failure in Afghanistan.
On behalf of India, PMO Jitendra Singh had said that the decision ‘has vindicated India’s stand on terror’. While speaking to the media, Singh also added that Pakistan’s role in carrying out terror is clear.