Pakistan has asked the United States why India was not on Washington’s special watch list on the issue of religious freedom despite unending bloodshed in held Kashmir and grave violation of minorities’ rights, diplomatic sources said. According to a report, senior officials at the foreign ministry said that Pakistan had presented its case to the US, challenging the discriminatory watch list. “If someone has to be put on that list, it is India. They are the ones who have been killing the Kashmiris and butchering the minorities. We have urged the US not to turn a blind eye to India,” said one official. Another official said that Washington had told Islamabad the watch list was not designed to target Pakistan. The official said Pakistan and the US had not lost contact and efforts were on to improve the relationship. Last month, the US state department added Pakistan to a special watch list on the issue of religious freedom. Earlier, the US suspended security assistance to Pakistan targeting the Coalition Support Funds.
This week, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the US must acknowledge the steps Pakistan had taken for protection of human rights and rights of religious freedom. In a statement, he had said Islamabad was seeking a clarification from the US on the watch list. 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. The foreign ministry said the report was not based on objective criteria. “This placement on a special watch list is a new categorization and we would be seeking clarification from the US regarding its rationale and implications,” Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said. He condemned the atrocities in Kashmir Pakistan and the victimization of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Pak-US relations are passing through critical phase. US President Trump had announced its new south Asia policy after taking charge and it is constantly blaming Pakistan. As for as US watch list is concerned, Pakistan must give calculated, measured and methodical response. This hostile approach of US administration regarding Pakistan is detrimental for the regional peace and stability. Pakistan has faced great physical and monetary loss in war against terrorism. Pakistan’s great contribution for regional and global peace must be acknowledged. Steps should be taken for repairing Pak-US ties for the resolution of longstanding Afghan crisis.