Pakistan rejects US report on religious freedom


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday rejected the report issued by the US Department of State on International Religious Freedom and termed the observations of the report ‘biased’ and ‘unsubstantiated’.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO) said that Pakistan did not support reports that made observations on the internal affairs of sovereign states.

“Pakistan is a multi-religious, multi-cultural and pluralistic society where people of different faiths are living together. Their contributions to society add to its richness and diversity. Their rights are guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan. These constitutional guarantees are underwritten by a vigilant judiciary that has demonstrated resolve to protect the fundamental rights – including religious freedoms – in recent high profile cases,” the statement said.

The statement highlighted the implementation of the “National Action Plan on Human Rights” for which a total of Rs750 million have been allocated.

Dismissing the findings of the report, the Foreign Office said that Pakistan has always played a positive role and has engaged the international community including the US with a view to having better and mutual understanding about the issue of religious freedoms.

Pakistan, it said, was of the view that all countries were obliged to promote religious harmony and have a duty to protect their citizens in accordance with national laws and international norms.

The Foreign Office termed the report discriminatory saying that the report ignored the systematic persecution of minorities, particularly Muslims, in India, who were subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan has often raised its own concerns internationally regarding the growing trend of Islamophobia in western countries.

The statement added that Pakistan would continue to be part of global efforts to combat religious intolerance, discrimination based on religion and belief and Islamophobia through different platforms including the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).