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Pakistan lodges protest with US officials over inclusion in religious freedom blacklist

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The Foreign Office on Wednesday lodged strong protest with senior US officials over the placement of Pakistan on the blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom.

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday he had designated Pakistan among the “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally-mandated annual report, which means that the US government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations.Pakistan on Wednesday rejected the US State Department’s move to add the country to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom as “unilateral and politically motivated”.According to diplomatic sources, the US officials were summoned at the Foreign Office and handed over a protest letter.

Pakistan told the officials that minorities enjoy full religious freedom in the country and that it does not need a lecture on minority rights from the US, sources said.Moreover, Pakistan asked the US how it could ignore Indian atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir. State of minorities in occupied Kashmir was also ignored by the US, sources quoted FO officials as saying.The officials assured Pakistan of conveying its concerns to the US authorities.

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