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‘Increasing Islamophobia’: FO rejects US religious freedom report


News Desk |

Pakistan has brushed aside US state department statement on religious freedom report saying Pakistan is discharging its obligations about protection of minorities rights while proponents of religious freedom have closed their eyes to the persecution of minorities in Occupied Kashmir.

The United States had said on Tuesday it had added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom and was going to be ramping up pressure over the treatment of minorities in the country.

Out of ten countries listed by the US as violators of minorities’ religious freedom, 6 are Muslim countries. It clearly indicates the increasing Islamophobia of the country.

According to a statement issued by Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal, Pakistan has rejected US state department statement on religious freedom saying that questions are there on the credentials and impartiality of the jury. Pakistan is a multi-religious society wherein people from diverse religions live together.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that Pakistan was joining Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, North Korea, Burma, Eritrea, Sudan and Tajikistan on a list of countries that have “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.

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As per the FO statement, the minorities including Christians, Hindu, Budh, and Sikh constitute 4 percent of the total population of Pakistan. Equal treatment and provision of their rights to minorities is the cornerstone of our constitution. Reserved seats have been allocated for ensuring participation of minorities in the legislation process. The judiciary has pronounced historical verdicts for protection of religious sites and properties.

The FO spokesperson has said the US needs to find the reasons leading to growing Islamophobia in the country. The persecutions of minorities are not being seen by the proponents of human rights in Occupied Kashmir. No country needs to give any counsel to Pakistan on the protection of minorities.

FO said Pakistan is discharging all obligations about protection of human rights and it is a member of 7 out of 9 international agreements on human rights.

This new form of racism has blinded the US in the recent decade. What it needs to understand is, this discrimination is as injurious to the US as Muslim community.

US had designated Pakistan among the “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally-mandated annual report, which means that the US government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations. Of course, there are many who question the motive behind the US’s labeling of countries before.

How much Pakistan values its minorities and their religious freedom was clearly observed at the recent opening of Kartarpur corridor. Fair and unbiased judiciary’s decision of Asia Bibi case and states robust stance against groups’ objecting the judiciary decision has been highly reflective of Pakistan’s attitude towards minorities.

Holi, otherwise known as the festival of colors, is regarded as one of the most significant festivals for the Hindu community; every year in Pakistan, political leaders, as well as celebrities along with Hindu community, enjoy the day to show solidarity with the community.

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Interestingly, India wasn’t added in the list, despite its atrocities against Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir and Indian Muslims. According to IndiaSpend–a data-based news organization– Muslims were the target of 52% of violence over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and of 25 Indians killed, 21 were Muslims (comprising 84%) in 60 incidents.

97% of these attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came into power in May 2014. Out of 60 cases, 30 cow-related violence incidents were from states governed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as per publication. If that is not oppression of minorities and violation their religious freedom, then what is?

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Out of ten countries listed by the US as violators of minorities’ religious freedom, 6 are Muslim countries. It clearly indicates the increasing Islamophobia of the country. This new form of racism has blinded the US in the recent decade. What it needs to understand is, this discrimination is as injurious to the US as Muslim community.

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