Pakistan Called Out by State Department for its Egregious Violations of Religious Freedom

Washington, DC (December 13, 2018) — In response to the announcement that the US State Department has classified Pakistan a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), for its “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom,” Samir Kalra, HAF Managing Director and author of Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2017 stated:

“We’re encouraged that the US State Department has recognized the egregious violations of religious freedom that minority communities in Pakistan face on a regular basis. Pakistan’s onerous blasphemy laws, the restrictions placed on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, and forced conversions of both Hindu and Christian women and girls, all demonstrate Pakistan’s blatant disregard for international human rights norms, as well as its obligations under international law.

While we’re disappointed that the State Department didn’t concurrently place sanctions on Pakistan under the International Religious Freedom Act, we believe that the CPC designation is a positive step in holding Pakistan accountable for its severe religious freedom violations.”

The Foundation has long advocated for designating Pakistan as a CPC through its human rights reports, policy briefs, coalition letters, and congressional briefings.

In addition to Pakistan, the following nations were given the CPC designation by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Recognizing that non-state actors also pose serious threats to religious freedom in several areas of the world, a number of terrorist groups were designated “Entities of Particular Concern”.