Of great interest to activists, scholars, parliamentarians and citizens of Pakistan and the United States is the addition of Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.
Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has asked the US State Department to clarify its new categorization regarding placement of Pakistan on a "Special Watch List" under the purview of the US legislation on International Religious Freedom. Tillerson also designated 10 "Countries of Particular Concern" (CPCs) in accordance with the 1998 Religious Freedom Act.
"We have pressed the United States government to give priority to the rights and freedoms of persecuted Iranians in America's dealings with the regime in Tehran", wrote the USCIRF members.
The commission aims to improve the lives for people of faith in these countries by recommending a diplomatic response and even sanctions on account of religious freedom violations.
A country is labeled as a CPC after it engages in "systemic, ongoing, [and] egregious" violations of religious liberty.
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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of State released the annual list of "Countries of Particular Concern". She is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and author of the book Purifying The Land of The Pure: The History of Pakistan's Religious Minorities (Oxford University Press, 2017). They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.
Dr Faisal said Pakistan will continue to work with the worldwide community to ensure that internationally agreed standards on religious freedom are observed in Pakistan and the region.
The announcement came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a decision to re-designate about 10 countries as "Countries of Particular Concern".
Sudan has also been severally accused of repressing religious freedoms especially of non-Muslims.
"At least 40 people are now sentenced to death or are serving life sentences for blasphemy", they wrote.
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Christians hold a Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally in Miami, Florida. "The administration is right to make this a priority".
The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce, (R-CA) said the redesignation of Myanmar as a country of particular concern is particularly appropriate, given its military's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.
"I think there is no issue here", Yousaf said.
It is interesting and welcome to note that in spite of the US decision to permanently lift certain sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Sudan that were lifted conditionally by President Obama, Sudan remains (rightfully so) a Country of Particular Concern.
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