Published On: Thu, Jan 4th, 2018

US places Pakistan on watch list for violations of religious freedom

Washington: The US State Department on Thursday placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.

The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for “severe violations of religious freedom”

The US State Department in a statement said the Secretary of State on December 22, 2017 re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern.

The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for “severe violations of religious freedom”.

“In far too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. Today, a number of governments infringe upon individuals’ ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief, worship in accordance with their religion or beliefs, or be free from coercion to practice a particular religion or belief,” it said.

The protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity. These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries, the statement said.

“We believe that the protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity. So in accordance with legislation, the State Department annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

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