ISLAMABAD, Dec 12 (APP):Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari on Wednesday said it was apparent that the United States was using as a brazen political tactic to pressure Pakistan to mitigate its failures in Afghanistan.
Expressing surprise at US Administration’s decision to
add Pakistan in “Blacklist for religious freedom violations,”
she said timing of this move reflects this most clearly.
In a statement issued here, Dr Mazari said there was
no doubt Pakistan’s record on religious freedom is not
ideal but then is the EU’s record much better given
restrictions on churches, the banning of certain dress codes of
Muslims, refusal of entry of certain preachers – the list
“In our own neighbourhood we have India where Muslims
are being targeted and where the BJP is supporting violence
against Muslims ostensibly over “beef,” she maintained.
The Minister said timing of the US move smacks of pure
political blackmailing because it comes in wake of Pakistan
opening the Kartarpur corridor to ease access for Sikhs of India
to their religious places as well as assisting Hindu groups to
enter Pakistan for religious purposes when India has sought to
prevent Muslims from Pakistan visiting Ajmer for religious
The deliberate ignoring of India’s shrinking space for
its religious minorities by the US while it targets Pakistan is
absurd and unacceptable.
In case the US is ignorant about large and diverse presence
of Christian churches in Pakistan, the Minister said she would
like to educate the Trump Administration on this count.
At the moment, she said, the following diverse
denominations of Christian churches are present in Pakistan: Catholic,
Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal
(3 separate groups under this church), Evangelical, Renewalist,
Salvation Army and then as a separate entity Church of
Pakistan directly linked to Archbishop of Canterbury.
Additionally, Dr Mazari reminded that Pakistan has
moved to allow its non-Muslim citizens own personal laws
of marriage and divorce in keeping with their religious
She said while we have to move forward to further
improve condition of all our citizens including our religious
minorities and other vulnerable groups, the US’s move is not
based on any facts but is a purely political move in an attempt
to pressure on Pakistan to do its bidding.
Perhaps President Trump needs to be reminded of
Prime Minister’s pledge to the Pakistani nation that Pakistan will
only act in its own interests and not be a “hired gun” for any other
It is time for the US to take responsibility for its failures
in Afghanistan so that it can do a course correction. And, if it is
serious about religious freedoms then it needs to examine
the record of Modi’s India and some of its EU allies that are
moving to curtail religious freedoms of its Muslim citizens.