Pak terms ‘arbitrary’ its designation by US as ‘country of particular concern’
Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday rejected its designation by the US as a ‘country of particular concern’ as an “arbitrary and selective assessment”, saying it was completely against the realities on the ground and raises serious doubts over the credibility of the exercise.
The United States on Wednesday designated several nations, including Pakistan, China, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar, as countries of particular concern for violation of religious freedom.
“I am designating Burma (Myanmar), the People’s Republic of China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said at a weekly briefing that the designation of Pakistan as a ‘country of particular concern’ was “completely against the realities on the ground and raises serious doubts about the credibility of this exercise”.
“Such subjective designations do not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide,” he said.
Ahmed said Pakistan and the US have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level, a fact regrettably overlooked by the US.
Pakistani society is multi-religious and pluralistic with a rich tradition of inter-faith harmony. Religious freedom and the protection of the rights of minorities are guaranteed by the Constitution and ensured through a range of legislative, policy and administrative measures, he said.
“We believe the redressal of the rising trend of intolerance, discrimination, xenophobia and Islamophobia requires global efforts based on the principles of cooperation and mutual understanding,” he said, while terming the omission of India as unfortunate.
Ahmed also said Pakistan was sincerely playing its part in ending all kinds of intolerance around the world.