ut of all countries, the United States of America (USA) is concerned over the status of religious freedoms of minorities in Pakistan. America by putting Pakistan on special watch list wants to exert pressure over Pakistan to reform its policies. We have seen such behaviour of the US administrations before. Sometimes the US seeks the liberation of the women of a country by raining down daisy cutter bombs over the civilians – as it happened in the case of Afghanistan. And sometimes, the champion of human rights and freedom wants to bring democracy to a nation by invading it – Iraq is case in point. Now, America’s moral supremacy cannot tolerate the “abject” record of religious freedoms of minorities in Pakistan.

Nevertheless, all such arguments that America makes are driven by political motives. The world knows quite well the long history of America using the human rights regime for political purposes. Hence Pakistan has categorically rejected the American pronouncement. Pakistan’s response was much needed. The foreign office shooting back with equal force has correctly pointed out that America needs introspection over the “exponential rise” of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism back at home. Islamophobia is the new form of racism that plagues American society.

While the blacks in America face implicit racism, the Muslims regularly face the brunt of explicit racism in America. Racial slurs are hurled against Muslims. The mosques are often the times desecrated. Above all, the American people allowed a person to become president whose entire political campaign was founded on racial slurs and victimisation of minorities and immigrants.

We all know that almost every other country struggles with the issues of integrating minorities and safeguarding their rights. Pakistan too is no exception. However, it is also true that the religious minorities’ religious liberties need state protection. The Pakistani government understands it well that if it allows violations of minorities’ religious go unpunished, the society will collapse. Pakistan is working diligently on ensuring and protecting the religious freedoms of minorities; the way the entire state machinery stood for Asia Bibi confirms this.

If the pangs of consciousness disturb the US, why is India not on the list? After all, the space for religious minorities in India is also shrinking. Many prominent Indian writers and human rights activists have protested against the violations of religious freedoms of minorities in India. What the US needs to understand is that no amount of sanctions can force Pakistan to succumb to the American pressure. Pakistan has already realised the need for reforms and is trying to remove all lacunas from its legal system so that the minorities enjoy maximum religious freedoms.