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Pak rejects US charge over religious freedom

Islamabad: Pakistan rejected the United States’ pronouncement about religious freedom in Pakistan as ‘politically motivated.’

In a statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal categorically stated Pakistan does ‘not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities.’

He said besides the clear biases reflected from these designations, there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self-proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise.

The spokesperson said Pakistan was a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together.

Around 4 percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths.

He said ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the constitution of Pakistan.

“Special seats have been reserved for minorities in the Parliament to ensure their adequate representation and voice in the legislation process,” he said.

Dr Faisal said a vibrant and independent National Commission on Human Rights was functioning to address concerns on violation of the rights of minorities.

Foreign Office spokesperson pointed out that successive governments have made it a priority that rights of citizens belonging to minority faiths are protected as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution.

The higher judiciary of the country has made several landmark decisions to protect the properties and places of worships of minorities.

He said Pakistan had devised legal and administrative mechanisms to safeguard the rights of its citizens.

The spokesperson regretted the proponents of human rights worldwide close their eyes on “systematic persecution of minorities subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the Kashmir.”

He said an honest self-introspection would also have been timely to know the causes of exponential rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the US.

The United States clarified on Wednesday that although Pakistan remains on the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list, there will be no additional sanctions other than those already placed on Pakistan owing to ‘national interest.’