Ashrafi terms US assessment of religious freedom in Pakistan ‘biased’

PM’s aide says political campaign underway to defame Muslim countries


APP November 20, 2021
PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

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 the assessment a “biased decision”.

Addressing a press conference at the Institute of Quran and Seerat Studies in Islamabad on Saturday, he said Muttahida Ulema Board, after evolving consensus among all stakeholders, also rejected the US assessment and termed it contrary to the facts.

He said the assessment was completely against the on-ground realities, adding 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.

Ashrafi said 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. He said that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed the rights of minorities. He said that in most cases, domestic violence forces people to take such steps, or various other reasons, and not religion.

He 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.

Also read: FO rejects ‘arbitrary’ US assessment of religious freedom

“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.

Ashrafi said that it was very unfortunate that only on the basis of politics and personal likes and dislikes, a campaign was being run to defame particular countries.

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.

The SAPM said that teachers, religious leaders including khateebs (imams) should play their role for promoting religious harmony, tolerance and coexistence in society.

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.

To another question, he said that the core objective of establishment of the Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority was not only to praise the great deeds of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) but also impart His teachings to the new generations.

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