Islamabad: Pakistan has rejected the recent US report on religious freedom violations in the country, terming it “unsubstantiated” and “biased”.
According to the report issued by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), religious freedom conditions in Pakistan “generally trended negative” in 2018.
“During the year, extremist groups and societal actors continued to discriminate against and attack religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims,” the report said.
The report’s findings revealed that the government of Pakistan failed to “adequately protect these groups, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations”.
The report further said that abusive enforcement of the country’s strict blasphemy laws continued to result in the “suppression of rights for non-Muslims, Shi’a Muslims, and Ahmadis…Forced conversions of non-Muslims continued despite the passage of the Hindu Marriage Act, which recognises Hindu family law”.
Based on these particularly severe violations, USCIRF again finds in 2019 that Pakistan should be designated as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), the US Commission recommended.
However, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry has dismissed the report.
“The report’s segment on Pakistan is a compendium of unsubstantiated and biased assertions. As a matter of principle, Pakistan does not support such national reports making observations on the internal affairs of sovereign States. Pakistan, therefore, rejects these observations,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday.
“Pakistan is of the view that all countries are obliged to promote religious harmony and have a duty to protect their citizens in accordance with national laws and international norms,” it added.