The U.S. State Department will release its religious freedom report, along with the naming of “countries of particular concern” for severe religious freedom violations, soon. The Obama administration has made CPC designations only once (in August 2011) over its two terms. The NAE President Leith Anderson wrote President Obama urging his administration to add Pakistan to the CPC list. CPC designation shines a spotlight on particularly severe religious freedom violators, and brings international pressure to bear on those countries to make needed changes. Pray that Pakistani authorities will respect the rights of all their citizens.
Dear Mr. President,
There is a crisis for religious freedom in Pakistan. Christians, as well as Shi’a Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus and others face severe persecution at the hands of the government and militants. I respectfully ask that you name Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act. It is critically important that our country bear witness to these horrible abuses.
New cases arise almost daily. On Thursday, March 27, a Pakistani court sentenced a Christian to death for blasphemy. He now joins 14 other individuals on death row for the same “crime.” Pakistan sadly leads the world in people sentenced to death or life in prison. While Christians are victimized, Muslims too suffer under this vague and abusive law.
Anti-Ahmadi laws have created an apartheid-like system that criminalizes basic acts of their faith. In addition, police often stay on the sidelines while Ahmadis are attacked. Christians too have been victimized by mob violence, with few if any of the perpetrators brought to justice.
Hindus suffer from forced conversions and kidnappings. However, the Shi’a Muslim community has suffered the most over the past year. NGOs estimate that more than 700 Shi’as have been killed by militants, with no effective response by the current government.
Mr. President, State Department reports, findings by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and numerous reports by nongovernmental organizations all clearly show that Pakistan is in crisis for religious freedom. It is critical that the United States shine a light on these abuses and press the Pakistani government to reform. Designating Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” is warranted and needed.
CC: The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State