Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Pakistan rejects US designation as “country of particular concern” for religious freedom

Islamabad, 8 January, 2024 (GNP): Pakistan has categorically rejected its recent designation as a “Country of Particular Concern (CPC)” by the US State Department under the International Religious Freedom Act.

This move, which categorizes Pakistan alongside several other nations, including China, Cuba, North Korea, and others, for purportedly engaging in severe violations of religious freedom, was met with resolute rejection by Pakistan.

In response to the announcement made on January 4 by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) issued a press release expressing deep dismay over the designation.

It asserted that this classification was founded upon a “biased and arbitrary assessment” that appeared to be disconnected from the ground realities of the country.

The FO emphasized Pakistan’s status as a pluralistic nation, known for its rich tradition of interfaith harmony.

It highlighted the nation’s commitment to promoting religious freedom and safeguarding minority rights, actions aligned with its constitutional principles.

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Expressing concern over the omission of India from the State Department’s list, despite widespread recommendations by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the FO underscored serious doubts about the credibility, transparency, and fairness of the entire designation process.

Characterizing such unilateral and subjective actions as counterproductive, Pakistan stressed the need for constructive engagement and collective efforts to address challenges related to religious intolerance, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.

Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to conveying its concerns about the designation directly to the US authorities.

This recent designation marks the fourth time Pakistan has been labeled a CPC, having previously received the classification in 2022, 2020, and 2018