SUNDAY TIMES ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday rejected the US State Department’s “unilateral and politically motivated” report on treatment of minorities which added it to a list of the countries that violate religious freedom.

“Pakistan rejects the US State Department’s unilateral and politically motivated pronouncement released today in the context of its annual religious freedom report,” the Foreign Office said in a statement today.

“Besides the clear biases reflected from these designations, there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise.”

It said Pakistan is a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together. Around 4 per cent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Budhists and Sikh faiths, it added.

The statement said ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Moreover, it said special seats have been reserved for minorities in the Parliament to ensure their adequate representation and voice in the legislation process. A vibrant and independent National Commission on Human Rights is functioning to address concerns on violation of the rights of minorities, it added.

The Foreign Office said successive governments have made it a priority that rights of citizens belonging to minority faiths are protected as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution, adding that the higher judiciary of the country has made several landmark decisions to protect the properties and places of worships of minorities.

“As a party to 7 out of the 9 core human rights treaties, Pakistan is submitting its compliance reports on its obligations with regard to fundamental freedoms,” read the statement.

“The Government of Pakistan has devised well establishment legal and administrative mechanisms to safeguard the rights of its citizens.”

It said Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities.
“Sadly, the proponents of human rights worldwide close their eyes on systematic persecution of minorities subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. An honest self introspection would also have been timely to know the causes of exponential rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the US.”