Pakistan retained as country of particular concern in USCIRF report
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has retained Pakistan as a country of particular concern (CPC) in its annual report.
The report recommends that the US administration pursues the reform of Pakistan’s educational textbooks, curriculum, and teacher training materials.
This is to make sure the content is inclusive of and not discriminatory toward religious minorities.
For “systematic, continuing and flagrant violations of religious freedom” Pakistan remained designated a country of special concern (CCP).
The USCIRF report also calls those accused of blasphemy to be released, and for the repeal of the blasphemy and anti-Ahmadi laws.
Until the law is repealed, the country should make reforms to make blasphemy a bailable offence, make it necessary for accusers to present evidence.
It also said the law should be reformed to ensure senior police officials conduct thorough investigations and to allow authorities to dismiss unfounded accusations and enforce the existing laws criminalising perjury and false accusations.
The US government is asked to enter into an agreement with the Pakistani government to encourage substantial steps to address religious freedom violations.
In the report, Pakistan is also asked to address extremist rhetoric while protecting freedom of expression.
It calls in the country to also hold people who incite or participate in vigilante violence, targeted killings, forced conversions, and other hate crimes, accountable for their actions.
The report further asks Pakistan to remove the requirement for self-identification of religion on identity documents, and impose sanctions on government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.