South Asia

Pakistan on US watchlist for ‘severe violations of religious freedom’

Pakistan has been added to a US State Department watchlist of countries responsible for “severe violations of religious freedom.”

Although the announcement has been criticised as political, coming the same day President Trump announced the suspension of security assistance aid to Pakistan, the independent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has repeatedly called for Pakistan to be designated a country of particular concern due to “ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion.”

The Commission has especially highlighted Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws, which have been used to convict several Christians and members of religious minorities who are on death row.

Six US Senators had in recent months also called for the US government to give notice to the Pakistani government over the “blasphemy” law, which they stated results “in the unjust prosecution and imprisonment of individuals due to their faith.”