Pulls Strategic Funding From Country
The US State Department has announced its plan to withhold funds from Islamabad following the classification of the Middle Eastern Country as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).
Countries of Particular Concern
Pakistan is not the only country to suffer from being labeled a CPC. In a statement by the US State Department spokesperson, several countries spanning various continents were re-classified as CPCs, among them Sudan, North Korea, and Sudan.
The US typically classifies countries as CPCs when they commit serious religious violations, or when their governments make insufficient efforts to address religious oppression. Under the American International Religious Freedom Act, the country can deny such nations aid. As such, the US has severed the $255 billion it usually sends to Pakistan in the form of aid. Withholding aid from oppressive governments is one way that the US hopes will promote peace and stability in such regions.
Egregious Religious Violation
This is not the first time that US officials and organizations have recommended that Pakistan be designated a CPC. In 2002, the US Commission on Religious Freedom recommended that the country make it to the list so that the Pakistani government’s egregious religious violations could account for its actions. The Pew Research Center also featured the Middle Eastern nation as “one of the few countries with the most restrictions on religion.
The US finally gave in on making Islamic state Pakistan a CPC, citing harsh religious legislation and condoning of religious hostility as concrete grounds for the designation. Currently, individuals are not free to choose, renounce, worship and practice religions of their choosing because they could be legally arrested and prosecuted for doing so.
Also, the State Department pointed remarked, the US did not feel that the Pakistani government was doing enough to fight terrorism. Pakistan protested that it was making marked progress in the same, but did not comment on the designation under the Special Watchlist.