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US Hits Pakistan, Iran, Three Central Asian Nations For Religious Freedom Violations

06 January 2018

"We recognize that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; we welcome these initiatives and look forward to continued dialogue", the State Department noted. Trump calls on Saudis to "immediately" lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE moved to redesignate Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as countries of "particular concern".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson placed Pakistan on a watch list for "severe violations of religious freedom", the State Department announced Thursday.

Reacting to the US' decision, the Foreign Office said, "this placement on special watch list is a new categorisation and we would be seeking clarification from the U.S. regarding its rationale and implications". "The Special Watch List designation status given to Pakistan by the U.S. Secretary of State to Pakistan may help Pakistan's religious minorities".

"Pakistan is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights including the right of religious freedom, under its Constitution", it said.

A country is labeled as a CPC after it engages in "systemic, ongoing, [and] egregious" violations of religious liberty.

President Donald Trump said on Monday the United States had "foolishly" given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years and had received nothing in return but "lies and deceit". She is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and author of the book Purifying The Land of The Pure: The History of Pakistan's Religious Minorities (Oxford University Press, 2017).

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President Trump has recently criticized Pakistan for giving "safe haven to terrorists".

"As USCIRF has said for many years", he added, "Pakistan should be designated by the State Department as a CPC".

"Today we write to express solidarity and support for your courageous efforts to restore your Nation's dignity and put an end to the abuses and deprivation which the people of Iran have suffered", they wrote.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) praised the White House for making religious freedom designations a priority but was disappointed that Vietnam was not designated as a CPC. "The administration is right to make this a priority".

"I think there is no issue here", Yousaf said. The country has a dominantly Muslim north with the south being Christian.

He pledged they would be "standing in solidarity with the people who are advocating for religious freedom and other human rights".

US Hits Pakistan, Iran, Three Central Asian Nations For Religious Freedom Violations