Pakistan today rejected the US' decision to place it on a 'Special Watch List' for "severe violations" of religious freedom, saying it reflects the "double standards" behind the listing.
Pakistan today rejected the US’ decision to place it on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations” of religious freedom, saying it reflects the “double standards” behind the listing. The US yesterday placed Pakistan on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations” of religious freedom, the State Department said, making it the only country to be put under the newly-formed list. The Special Watch List is for countries that engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom but may not rise to the level of the CPC. Reacting to the US’ decision, the Foreign Office said, “this placement on special watch list is a new categorisation and we would be seeking clarification from the US regarding its rationale and implications”. “It is surprising that countries that have a well-known record of systematic persecution of religious minorities have not been included in the list. This reflects the double standards and political motives behind the listing and hence lacks credibility,” it said.
The Foreign Office said the decision to designate Pakistan overlooks the significant achievements of Pakistan in the area of human rights. “Pakistan is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights including the right of religious freedom, under its Constitution,” it said. Pakistan said that wide ranging legislative, institutional and administrative measures have been taken by Pakistan to ensure full implementation of guarantees afforded by the Constitution.
The international community is aware of the incremental steps being taken by Pakistan that have brought about positive changes on ground. The FO said Pakistan will continue to work with the international community to ensure that internationally agreed standards on religious freedom are observed in Pakistan and the broader region.