Here’s a good one. A recent statement by the State Department of the United States that lists Pakistan as a state that violates the religious freedom reads, “The protection of religious freedom is a top Trump Administration foreign policy priority.” Probably, it is one of the rare occasions where Trump Administration is not lying. The current US government is trying to combat such abuses abroad but remains blind to the worsened situation at home. The statement of the state department speaks volumes of the US’s hypocrisy for the majority of the countries that are on the list are the ones the US has some political differences with.

The US government is making religious freedoms as problematic as it has already made human rights. Under the pretext of religious freedom, the US is just trying to make these countries to kneel to its demands. This is not an empty allegation. The statement that reads, “These designations underscore the United States’ commitment to protect those who seek to exercise their freedom of religion or belief,” very neatly excludes from the list. India not on the list is evidence in favour of the belief that the Champion of human rights is exploiting the religious freedoms for the perpetuation of its narrow interests.

James Baldwin – a keen observer of racism in his home country – rightly lambasted the American hypocrisy when he warned people not to take the western champions of human rights seriously. It is not to say that religious minorities are not discriminated against or persecuted in Pakistan. However, saying that the Pakistani state remains silent whenever religious minorities’ religious freedoms are violated is ignorance of ground realities. Islamabad is making rigorous and constant efforts in ensuring a pluralist society where people can profess their faiths and religious rights freely. Before pointing fingers at other countries record, it would have been better if the state department had considered Trump’s comments about minorities in the US. Trump has assembled a long history of comments on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities. Studies suggest that in 2015 and 2016, hate crimes and attacks against Muslims increased radically, surpassing the post-9/11 levels in Trump’s America. And one factor that the experts often point to is the rise of Donald Trump. Our Foreign Office (FO) response was not only justified but a good piece of advice as it offered the US to work together “in realising the goal of promoting and protecting religious freedom.”A