07/08/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs, Dr. Noor-ul-Hug Qadri, claimed during a Paigham-e-Pakistan ceremony that all Pakistani religious minorities enjoy complete religious freedom as guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan. The statement comes at a time when international attention has increasingly focused on the plight of Pakistan’s religious minority community. Horrific stories of the forced conversions and marriages of religious minority girls are all too common, but even more systematically the country’s notorious blasphemy law is used to suppress freedom of religion across society.
The international community has brought continued attention to the blasphemy law, citing numerous cases where the law was misused by the Muslim religious majority community to suppress or silence Christians and religious minorities. Members of the Muslim majority community will use the threat of blasphemy accusations as leverage over religious minorities in interpersonal conflict and business dealings.
The United States Commissions on International Religious Freedom recommended that Pakistan be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) in their latest report. The Biden Administration should accept this recommendation and continue with the CPC designation for Pakistan, but also implement economic consequences in the form of Global Magnitsky sanctions to encourage behavior change in Pakistan.
The United States must lead on religious freedom and hold Pakistan accountable for their atrocious human rights record.
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