No need to lecture us on religious freedom, FO tells US officials

December 13, 2018 at 3:21 am

ISLAMABAD – Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned senior US officials and lodged a strong after Washington added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries violating religious freedom.

According to diplomatic sources, while recording strong protest and handed over documents to the US officials.

The documents stated that all minorities have religious freedom in Pakistan under the constitution.

The letter further stated that the authorities have also ignored the behavior with minorities in India-occupied Kashmir (IoK). “How can the US ignore Indian oppression in IoK,” the letter added.

Earlier, foreign office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal had categorically rejected the United States pronouncement about religious freedom in Pakistan as politically motivated, adding that Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities.

The spokesperson said that besides the clear biases reflected from these designations, there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self-proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise.

The spokesperson said Pakistan is a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together. Around four percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths.

He said ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Special seats have been reserved for minorities in the Parliament to ensure their adequate representation and voice in the legislation process. A vibrant and independent National Commission on Human Rights is functioning to address concerns on violation of the rights of minorities.

Dr Faisal pointed out that successive Governments have made it a priority that rights of citizens belonging to minority faiths are protected as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution.

The higher judiciary of the country has made several landmark decisions to protect the properties and places of worships of minorities. He said Pakistan has devised legal and administrative mechanisms to safeguard the rights of its citizens.

The spokesperson regretted the proponents of human rights worldwide close their eyes on systematic persecution of minorities subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

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