US Designates Pakistan a “Country of Particular Concern” Over Religious Freedom Violations | Persecution

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US Designates Pakistan a “Country of Particular Concern” Over Religious Freedom Violations

12/12/2018 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported that he had decided to designate Pakistan a “country of particular concern” over its abuse of religious minorities. This decision comes one year after Pakistan was placed on a special watch list regarding religious freedom violations.

By designating Pakistan a “country of particular concern”, the US government is obliged to exert pressure through its international relations, including the imposition of sanctions if necessary, to end religious freedom violations.

Human rights advocates, including International Christian Concern, have long reported the abuse of religious minorities in Pakistan. Making up only 3.6% of the population, these minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Ahmadis, endure intense persecution on a near daily basis.

For Christians, their religious identity essentially relegates them to the lowest rungs of Pakistani society. Beyond economic and social discrimination, Christians also face outright instances of persecution such as kidnappings, forced conversions, false blasphemy accusations, mob violence and terrorist attacks on their places of worship. Will being designated a “country of particular concern” finally push Pakistan to prioritize the rights of religious minorities?

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