State Dept. Ignores Pakistan in Religious Freedom Report


The State Department released its most recent International Religious Freedom Report, which includes a list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPCs). That list is Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Turkemnistan (the first addition to the list in years). The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wonders why the hell Pakistan is not on that list.

The list of “countries of particular concern” had remained unchanged since 2006 — and hasn’t been formally issued by the State Department since 2011 — when Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan were cited.

In April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that the list be doubled to include Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Egypt. Turkmenistan was the only new addition to this year’s CPC list, bringing the total to nine countries.

The State Department and the independent USCIRF have often been at odds on who makes the list of worst offenders, and in a statement, USCIRF noted the “disappointing omission” of Pakistan in particular.

“Pakistan represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated by the U.S. government as CPCs,” said USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett.

The USCIRF is absolutely right. And I’d add Russia to that list as well, along with nearly all of the countries on the Arabian peninsula (all have harsh blasphemy or apostasy laws). I can’t really imagine what the criteria are for making this list if Pakistan is not on it.

Comments

  1. D. C. Sessions says

    I take it that “wonders why” is rhetorical, because the reason is obvious.

  2. Eric Ressner says

    Objecting only to the logic, and not to the judgment that Pakistan belongs on the list …

    “Pakistan represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated by the U.S. government as CPCs,” said USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett.

    The implied “therefore” is, such a country should be listed. But to follow that logic would be to list every country. There will always be a “worst situation … not currently designated.” The question must still be answered, “Is that one bad enough to join the others?”

    The case of Pakistan is almost certainly worse than some others already listed, and that implied “therefore” is unassailable.

  3. Nemo says

    @D. C. Sessions #1: Not so obvious. If you mean to imply that it’s because supposed “allies” of the U.S. were left off, then why is Saudi Arabia on the list?

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    And why isn’t the US of A on that list? I hear that all over the country, innocent Christians are being harassed, jailed, and said “Happy Holidays!” to – and that’s just in the areas where Fox News reporters dare to go!

  5. D. C. Sessions says

    Because right now we’re both dependent on Pakistan and having a very hard time keeping them in line (for instance vs. the Taliban.) The oil states don’t really care so much as long as the money spends — they’re sophisticated enough to know it’s all just talk anyway.

    We care vastly more about keeping the world safe for Disney and Microsoft than about heretics and blasphemers.

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