US adds Pakistan to blacklist for religious freedom violations

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 11, 2018, 10.04 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among "countries of particular concern" in a congressionally mandated annual report, a year after the State Department put Pakistan on a watchlist without legal consequences.

The United States said Tuesday it has added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom, ramping up pressure over its treatment of minorities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among "countries of particular concern" in a congressionally mandated annual report, a year after the State Department put Pakistan on a watchlist without legal consequences.

Pompeo a year earlier had placed Pakistan on a special watch list -- a step short of the designation -- in what had been seen as a US tactic to press Islamabad into reforms.

Human rights advocates have long voiced worry about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Shiites, Ahmadis and Christians.

This comes at a time when the Trump administration suspended  $3 billion security aid to Pakistan over its failure to counter terrorist groups.

US president Donald Trump said earlier that Pakistan did not "do a damn thing" for the US despite billions of dollars in American aid for the South Asian nation.

Responding to him Pak PM Imran Khan said that the US aid to Pakistan was a "miniscule" $20 billion, while the country lost 75,000 people and more than $123 billion fighting the 'US War on Terror'.

Trump became the first US president to announce the suspension of security aid to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had also placed Pakistan on the grey list for failing to curb anti-terror financing.

(With inputs from agencies)

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