US report on religious freedom a compendium of unsubstantiated and biased assertions: Pakistan

US report on religious freedom a compendium of unsubstantiated and biased assertions: Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the latest report of the US State Department on the international religious freedom, Pakistan has said people of different faiths are living together in the country and their rights are guaranteed under the Constitution, Dawn reported.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a statement on Friday that the US report on Pakistan was “a compendium of unsubstantiated and biased assertions”.

“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. “A glaring discriminatory aspect of the report is that it has ignored the systematic persecution of minorities, particularly Muslims, in India, which are subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he stated.

He said that Pakistan, which is a multi-religious, multi-cultural and pluralistic society, had always played a positive role and engaged the international community, including the US with a view to have better and mutual understanding of the issue of religious freedoms, which were under stress around the world.

Pakistan often raised its own concerns internationally, including with the western governments and the US over the growing trend of Islamo­phobia in their own countries, said the FO spokesperson. “At the United Nations, OIC and other platforms, Pakistan will continue to be part of global efforts to combat religious intolerance, discrimination based on religion and belief and Islamophobia.”

About the US report, the spokesperson made it clear that as a matter of principle, “Pakistan does not support such national reports making observations on the internal affairs of sovereign states”.

He reminded that the country was implementing a comprehensive “nati­onal action plan on human rights” with focus on policy, legal reforms, access to justice, implement key human rights priorities, international/UN treaty implementation and implementation and monitoring mechanism for the action plan. A sum of Rs750 million was allocated for implementation of the plan, he added.