Pakistan rejects US religious freedom report, terms anti-terror op a sovereign decision
ISLAMABAD: (Suno News) Pakistan has rejected the US report on religious freedom, and criticised the document for lacking transparency; and termed the ongoing anti-terrorism operations including Azm-e-Istehkam a sovereign decision of the country.

The US report recommended that the US State Department designate 17 countries as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) due to severe violations of religious freedom and included Pakistan in such countries. It also criticized the country for systemic issues like the enforcement of blasphemy laws and the failure to protect religious minorities from forced conversions.

The other CPCs include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

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During the weekly media briefing on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch highlighted that the United States’ report overlooks Pakistan’s efforts to ensure religious freedom and does not aid in promoting human rights.

The spokesperson also emphasized that the Pakistani government has approved Gaza’s medical students to complete their education in Pakistan. They will soon join Pakistani medical colleges to pursue studies in cardiology, surgery, and other fields, she added.

Regarding Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan, she told the media that Asif Durrani represented Pakistan at the Afghan conference in Doha. A meeting between Afghan and Pakistani officials was held on July 1, where Durrani highlighted concerns about terrorists receiving support from within Afghanistan, she maintained.

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Both neighbouring countries are actively discussing these concerns as Pakistan has serious reservations about the support for terrorists originating from Afghanistan, and these issues were addressed during the Doha meetings, she said.

Mumtaz Zahra said any kind of operation or activity within Pakistan is a sovereign decision of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s decision to conduct an operation against terrorists on its soil is its own, she said.

The spokesperson said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was on an official visit to Astana to participate in the SCO meeting today.

“Prime Minister will also meet the members in the SCO. Yesterday Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also met with various leaders in Astana,” the spokesman said.