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US assessment of religious freedom in Pakistan ‘biased’: SAPM Ashrafi

He says political campaign underway to defame Muslim countries. (Source: APP)

LAHORE: Special Representative to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has criticised the US designation of Pakistan as a country of particular concern (CPC), terming it a “biased decision”.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday, the special assistant pointed out that Muttahida Ulema Board, after evolving consensus among all stakeholders, also rejected the US assessment and termed it contrary to the facts.

“The assessment was completely against the on-ground realities”, he said claiming that only two tragic incidents of religious violence were reported from across the country last year, on which quick action was taken by the government.

He highlighted that the Muttahida Ulema Board had also provided relief to the minorities in more than 25 cases that were brought to it, after properly investigating the situation. “The Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed the rights of minorities,” he pointed out.

Ashrafi urged the world powers and especially the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to prepare their reports after thorough research and on the basis of facts, adding that it seemed as if the US report was based on mere assumptions.

“If we have a look at the Indian side, a lot of violence on the religious grounds was committed, but the so-called NGOs were focused on Pakistan and other Muslim countries only,” he added.

He mentioned that it was necessary to promote religious harmony in the country for giving future generations a safe and prosperous Pakistan. He maintained that Islam gives the message of tolerance, moderation and it is protector of the rights of minorities.

To a question, he said that the assessment was only based on politics, and not on facts, and “We strongly rejected it”, adding that the UNO and the OIC like platforms would also be engaged for shunning the propaganda and removing the allegations against these countries including Pakistan.

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