Pak rejects US designation on religious freedom Foreign Office calls it arbitrary, selective

Staff Reporter

Pakistan on Thursday rejected the US State Department’s assessment under the US domestic legislation on religious freedom, terming it arbitrary and selective.

The designation of Pakistan as a “Country of Particular Concern” is completely against the realities on the ground and raises serious doubts about the credibility of this exercise, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said during his weekly press briefing.
Each year the US secretary of state identifies “governments and non-state actors, who, because of their religious freedom violations, merit designation under the International Religious Freedom Act”, a statement by US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said.

The US secretary of state has placed Pakistan and several other countries on the list for allegedly “having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom”.

Iftikhar noted that such subjective designations do not contribute towards promoting the cause of religious freedom worldwide.

“Pakistan and the US have been constructively engaging on the subject at the bilateral level, a fact regrettably overlooked by the US,” the spokesperson said.