The United States Department of State has released its official blacklist of countries guilty of egregious violations of religious freedom, and for the 14th consecutive year has left Pakistan off the roster.
Secretary of State John Kerry has re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, under the International Religious Freedom Act, and has added the ex-Soviet republic of Tajikistan for the first time.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby announced this year’s list of countries of particular concern at a press briefing last week, underscoring that these designations “help us shine a spotlight on countries and conditions that require the international community’s attention.”
Nonetheless, despite persistent urging from the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the list omits mention of Pakistan, despite recent incidents that have drawn world attention to the country.
The Easter-Day massacre targeting Christians in Lahore saw the death of 72 victims, mostly women and children, along with at least 320 injured. (Read more from “Obama Admin. Fails to Designate Pakistan as Hostile to Religious Freedom Despite Recent Massacres of Christians” HERE)