On November 17, 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was again designated as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Pakistan was first added to the State Department’s CPC list in 2018 and has remained on the list every year since.
“Each year the Secretary of State has the responsibility to identify governments and non-state actors, who, because of their religious freedom violations, merit designation under the International Religious Freedom Act,” Secretary Blinken stated.
“Every year in Pakistan, approximately 1000 Hindu, Christian, and Sikh girls are abducted from their families, forcefully converted to Islam, and sold off as child brides to their much older male abductor or into sexual slavery,” stated Taniel Koushakjian, HAF Director of Policy & Government Relations and Chairman of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable’s South Asia Working Group.
“Pakistan also has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world for alleged blasphemy and apostasy law violations. It’s clear that after being designated as a CPC for these and other crimes against humanity for the last four years that Pakistan has not shown any willingness to change its behavior nor does it intend to,” Koushakjian said.
The Secretary did not include Bangladesh on the CPC list, nor did it include Bangladesh on the “Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated ‘severe violations of religious freedom.’”
Since November, 2020, there have been four waves of anti-Hindu mob violence that has resulted in the deaths of dozens of Bangladeshi Hindus, and the destruction or desecration of thousands of Hindu temples, homes and businesses throughout Bangladesh.
HAF has repeatedly met with the US State Department to express the Hindu American community’s deep concerns about the anti-Hindu pogroms in Bangladesh. Following the third wave of mob violence that took place in April of this year, HAF explicitly called on the State Department to designate Bangladesh as a CPC.
For more information, read HAF’s Human Rights Report for Pakistan and Bangladesh. For more information about Pakistan’s stolen girls, visit HAF’s ‘Save Pakistan’s Stolen Girls’ resource page.