Pak escapes sanctions over spiritual freedom

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 9

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s intervention led to Pakistan escaping sanctions for lack of religious freedom and India stopped from being listed on a Special Watch List, said US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback.

“There were several recommendations that the Secretary (Pomoeo) did not follow, and this was one of them,” he said about keeping India away from the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list.

The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had recommended that India be put in the CPC list because of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Brownback said the US had privately discussed these issues with the Indian government at a high level, and will continue to get raised.

Pompeo is well aware of the statute (CAA) and the issues associated with the Modi government, he said during a briefing on rollout of US action against religious freedom violators.

Though Brownback was critical of India, he did not get baited by a question posed by a Pakistani-origin journalist who wanted to know why Pakistan was on CPC and India was not.

Brownback conceded that in India, some of the violence was carried out by the government but a lot of the actions are by the government in Pakistan. Also, Pakistan has half of the world’s people that are locked up for apostasy or blasphemy. “Christians and Hindu women from Pakistan are being marketed as concubines or forced brides into China,” he said.

The CPC list includes China, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria among others.

India not on watch list

  • Mike Pompeo’s intervention stops India from being listed on a Special Watch List of USCIRF
  • USCIRF notes that half of those jailed for apostasy or blasphemy are in Pakistan
  • Also Christians and Hindu women from Pakistan are being marketed as forced brides into China

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