After President Trump's lashed out at Pakistan in his first tweet of the year for the country's failure to act decisively to counter-terrorism and accused it of playing a double game, the USA state department formally announced a halt in aid and security assistance to Pakistan.
A country is labeled as a CPC after it engages in "systemic, ongoing, [and] egregious" violations of religious liberty.
USCIRF's Chairman Daniel Mark said that "The designation of these countries is a key step in ensuring continued USA engagement in support of worldwide religious freedom".
"The designation of these countries is a key step in ensuring continued US engagement in support of worldwide religious freedom".
US Hits Pakistan, Iran, Three Central Asian Nations For Religious Freedom Violations
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.
In response, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakistan's prime minister, called a meeting of the National Security Committee, which issued a statement denouncing Trump's remarks as "completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation".
While putting Pakistan on the worldwide religious freedom blacklist itself is a normal process, experts said the timing is "very ominous".
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed the State Department's naming of "Countries of Particular Concern" (CPCs) for severe religious freedom violations.
Yusuf added the US plan to cut security assistance to Pakistan is "a done deal", but it will not change Pakistan's approach on counterterrorism and what Washington is seeking from Islamabad. In April 2017, USCIRF recommended that 16 countries be designated CPCs: Burma, Central African Republic, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. "The re-designation of Burma as a country of particular concern is particularly appropriate, given the Burmese military's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims". The Vietnamese people continue to have their religious freedom and other human rights violated. "The U.S. should never shrink from calling out countries for such abuses".More news: Could gene-editing save chocolate from extinction?