State Department Puts Pakistan on Watch List for Severe Religious Freedom Violations

State Department Puts Pakistan on Watch List for Severe Religious Freedom Violations

"The protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity".

In response, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakistan's prime minister, called a meeting of the National Security Committee, which issued a statement denouncing Trump's remarks as "completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation".

The US State Department on Thursday placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.

"Today, we have re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern, and Pakistan as part of a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom", Nauert said on Twitter.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) believes the State Department didn't go far enough in their designation of Pakistan, given its egregious religious freedom violations. "These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries", it adds. Pakistan was the only country in the new category.

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In an interview with Voice of America, McMaster said the U.S. president's tweet was not a blame-game rather it was America's effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that "our relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilise Afghanistan".

The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir said Thursday "there should be no doubt or fear as the defense of Pakistan is in competent and strong hands".

Pakistan denies supporting militants, pointing to its own war against extremist groups battling to overthrow the government.

Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry issued a statement on Friday noting that it was engaging with the USA on the issue of security cooperation. "From our bases you carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan, thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you", Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif wrote.

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