The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has once again recommended that the US government designates Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” (CPC) under IRFA.

A recent report released by the commission says that banned groups are increasingly targeting the religious minorities in Pakistan. The US has expressed serious concern over unidentified attackers who continued targeting and killing Shia, Hazaras, and Ahmadis in attacks believed to be religiously motivated, in Pakistan last year.

This January the US State Department placed Pakistan on its special watch list for “severe violations of religious freedom”.

The report states that in 2017 Pakistan’s religious minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims, continued to face attacks and discrimination from extremist groups and society at large.

It adds that the Pakistani government failed to protect these groups, and that various media outlets promoted intolerance against religious minorities.

“Abusive enforcement of the country’s strict blasphemy laws resulted in the suppression of rights for non-Muslims, Shi’a Muslims, and Ahmadis,” according to the report.

The report also looked at the issue of forced conversions and found that they persisted, even despite the passage of the Hindu Marriage Act.

The commission said hardliner groups are entering the political arena and becoming a threat to the religious minorities.
In May, last year a USCIRF delegation called on the Pakistani authorities, the religious and civil representatives in Pakistan. Bearing these findings in mind, the USCIRF has recommended designating Pakistan as a country of particular concern.

The US government was also urged to bind Pakistan’s government to help imprisoned blasphemy victims, and encourage Pakistan to launch a public information campaign telling its citizens of the historic role religious minorities played in the creation of their society, and about their equal rights. .