World News

US Adds Pakistan to Religious Freedom Watchlist

US Adds Pakistan to Religious Freedom Watchlist

The state department said that the decision reflects Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done enough against these two groups which have long sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan killing the USA and other forces.

A day after the White House threatened to cancel aid to Pakistan, the US Department of State has put the country on a special watch list for "severe violations of religious freedom".

Mark said it was a "surprise and disappointment" that Pakistan was not added to the list of CPCs, especially given President Donald Trump's past criticism of the nation, which has engaged in state-sponsored discrimination against religious minority groups, and has anti-blasphemy laws.

"These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries", said the State Department in a statement that described the protection of religious freedom as being vital to peace, stability and prosperity.

Russian Federation was also among the countries that the State Department omitted from its list of CPCs. "@StateDept's preference for treading 'carefully" endures", Haqqani wrote.

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"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".

"They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help". Trump's envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the administration will withhold $225 million in USA aid to the country until it ramps up counterterrorism efforts against extremists operating against American-backed troops in Afghanistan.

His comments were met with fierce pushback in Pakistan. U.S. Ambassador David Hale was summoned to discuss the remarks and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif suggested a U.S. audit of the money Pakistan receives from its Western ally, so as to "let the world know who is lying and deceiving". Several protests also took place in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. The Trump administration will reportedly announce plans to cut security assistance funds to the country.

The State Department defended its decision. The U.S. State Department has singled out Pakistan, Iran, and three Central Asian countries for policies violating religious freedom. For too long no one has really cared within the country.

Moeed Yusuf, associate vice president of the United States Institute of Peace, said there is a consensus within the Trump administration that it would increase pressure on Pakistan.


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