Home Global Village Pakistan demands rationale behind addition on ‘Special Watch List’ placement

Pakistan demands rationale behind addition on ‘Special Watch List’ placement

Special Watch List
  • 70
    Shares

News Analysis |

Pakistan’s ambassador to US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry demanded justification from US authorities over addition in “Special Watch List” for severe violations of religious freedom.  Chaudhry asked for explanation and implications of the decision. The US State Department made the announcement last week in light of International Religious Freedom Act of the US constitution.

The ambassador highlighted Pakistan’s efforts in curbing extremism. He highlighted the measures taken by Pakistan in legislative, institutional and administrative capacities. Chaudhry urged the world to appreciate Pakistan’s effort in providing human rights. He vowed that Pakistan will take all measures to comply by the international standards of freedom of religion.

Donald Trump’s tweet, US military aid suspension and now the special watch list have put Pakistan in a very tight position. It is imperative our leaders justify their position and defend Pakistan against any hard or soft attacks.

This decision was announced when the tensions between the two countries are already very high. The United State Commission on International Religious freedom (USCIRF) monitors the universal right to freedom of religion abroad. The term “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.

Read more: What foreign policy will the US adopt in the east next…

The USCIRF prepares an annual list of countries that engage in systematic violations of religious freedom and fails to protect minority rights. It recommends a list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) to the State Department. Pakistan is being recommended as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) by the USCIRF for many years but the State Department has not placed it on that list.

Instead, a new list known as the ‘Special Watch List’ has been prepared by the US State Department and Pakistan is the first and the only country to be placed in it. While the ramifications of being a CPC are clear, the consequences of being on the ‘Special Watch List’ are not clear. Countries declared as CPC can face economic sanctions by the US to comply, even though non-economic measures are preferred.

Pakistan is placed on the ‘Special Watch List’, one tier below the CPC, the details of the implications are not known yet but it is very unlikely that they’d be serious, considering that there are any.

The constitution demands the US to take measures against these countries but it does not specify which measures should be taken. CPC’s enjoy asylum benefits, their citizens are often given asylum on a preferential basis because the US already has data to justify that they actually face hostile conditions at home. It is ironic to see that while CPC countries enjoy preferential asylum, 3 out of the 10 countries in the CPC face a travel ban in the US.

Read more: Migrant crisis: Europe reaps what US foreign policy had sown

The ban was implemented by the US President Donald Trump. His statements clearly depict a prejudice against Muslims and the initial list of countries with travel ban constituted solely of Muslim countries. Hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities are also on the rise. How can the US justify pointing fingers at other countries when such conditions prevail at home?

Historically, the list of CPC never had more than a statuary value. The US has never imposed economic sanctions on a country over being a CPC. One of the closest allies of the US, Saudi Arabia, is also on the list but no action has been taken against it by the US government. It is nothing more than a research document.

CPC’s enjoy asylum benefits, their citizens are often given asylum on a preferential basis because the US already has data to justify that they actually face hostile conditions at home.

Pakistan is placed on the ‘Special Watch List’, one tier below the CPC, the details of the implications are not known yet but it is very unlikely that they’d be serious, considering that there are any. While it is highly doubtful that Pakistan will face further sanctions by the US or international monetary institutes over the addition in the “Special Watch List”, it would be prudent to believe that the US cannot cite it as a reason to further the pressure on Pakistan.

Read more: More foreign policy blow back in Spain

Donald Trump’s tweet, US military aid suspension and now the special watch list have put Pakistan in a very tight position. It is imperative our leaders justify their position and defend Pakistan against any hard or soft attacks.


  • 70
    Shares

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here