ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will host the 8th meeting of the Istanbul Process next year with a focus to evolve responses to growing religious intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief. Federal Minister for Education and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on International Religious Freedom, Shafqat Mahmood made the announcement at The Hague, Netherlands, during his keynote address at the 7th Istanbul Process meeting, said a foreign ministry statement. The minister drew attention to the alarming levels of Islamophobia in many parts of the world, as evidenced inter alia, by growing incidents of hate crimes, negative profiling, assaults on hijab wearing Muslim women, denigration of venerated Muslim personalities and symbols.  He cautioned against incendiary and populist rhetoric for electoral gains, often amplified by sections of the media that served as catalyst for hate speech leading to acts of violence, systematic discrimination and in some cases acts of terrorism. In the context of promoting human rights and addressing root causes of this phenomenon, Minister Shafqat Mahmood underlined the imperative of upholding the right to self-determination for people under foreign occupation. He called for eschewing ambivalence and double standards by flag-bearers of human rights in the face of grave human rights violations including in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He also expressed deep concerns over the growing incidents of systematic discrimination and state sanctioned violence against Muslims in India.