United States puts Pakistan on watch list for religious freedom violations

Eritrea Sudan re-designated by U.S. over violation of religious freedom

Trump calls on Saudis to "immediately" lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE moved to redesignate Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as countries of "particular concern".

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday that many people in the world are being unduly indicted, persecuted and jailed for exercising their religious freedom. The State Department says that the designation is annually made as a way to encourage other countries to join the U.S. in "upholding high but universal standards".

In addition to the freeze, the United States has also put Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.

Pakistan is ready to face any United States action, the country's defense minister and the army spokesman said.

"The protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity", the department said in a statement.

Indian Medical Association calls for 12-hour nationwide strike
Dr Veeranna said the appointment of members to the commission is not by election, but rather by nomination by the Union government.

USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark emphasized that "Pakistan continues to harass its religious minorities, has state-sanctioned discrimination against groups such as the Ahmadis, and tolerates extra-judicial violence in the guise of opposing blasphemy". "These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries", the department said in a statement. The country has a dominantly Muslim north with the south being Christian.

President Trump has recently criticized Pakistan for giving "safe haven to terrorists". They make up around 1.6 percent of Pakistan's population.

Earlier this week, the White House said Islamabad would have to do more to combat terrorism to receive USA aid.

In an interview with Voice of America, McMaster said the United States president's tweet was not a blame-game rather it was America's effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that "our relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilise Afghanistan".

US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley also said Washington would withhold Dollars 255 million in assistance to Pakistan.

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