January 08, 2018

US asked to clarify placing Pakistan on ‘Special Watch List’

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry says Islamabad is seeking a clarification from the US on its recent announcement to place Pakistan on a "Special Watch List".

“The US must acknowledge the steps Pakistan has taken for protection of human rights and rights of religious freedom,” he said in a statement here. The US State Department made the announcement last week within the purview of the US Legislation on International Religious Freedom.

"We have noted the announcement by the State Department about placement of Pakistan on a Special Watch List. Pakistan is seeking a clarification from the US about its rationale and implications.

“It is, however, important to acknowledge that Pakistan is firmly committed to promotion and protection of human rights including the right to religious freedom, under its Constitution," the ambassador said.

He underscored that wide ranging legislative, institutional and administrative measures were taken by Pakistan which were geared to ensuring full coverage of guarantees afforded by the Constitution.

He said the international community was well aware of incremental steps being taken by Pakistan that had brought about a positive change on the ground.

Citing an example, Aizaz said in the past year alone, the Supreme Court of Pakistan came up with landmark decisions setting important precedents with regard to enforcement of relevant constitutional provisions in letter and spirit.

"We will continue to work with the international community with a view to ensuring that internationally agreed standards of religious freedom are observed in Pakistan and the broader region," he added.



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