Pakistan has faced worldwide condemnation over its treatment of religious minorities, especially Christians, Ahmadi Muslims and Hindus.
On Monday, Trump reiterated US concerns that Pakistan provides safe havens for militants, saying it had played USA leaders for "fools". According to US officials, two main categories will be affected; Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Coalition Support Funds (CSF).
The department re-designated the countries under the International Religious Freedom Act and placed Pakistan on a special watch list for "severe violations of religious freedom".
The U.S. State Department has re-designated ten countries including North Korea as "countries of particular concern" for violations of religious freedom.
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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 US state department formally announced a halt in aid and security assistance to Pakistan.
"This placement on special watch list is a new categorisation and we would be seeking clarification from the United States regarding its rationale and implications", a statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. "Given the strong stance that President Trump has taken on Pakistan recently, the failure to designate Pakistan as a CPC this year comes as a surprise and disappointment".
"It is surprising that countries that have a well-known record of systematic persecution of religious minorities have not been included in the list", the statement added.
In a 2017 report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom noted that the Pakistani government "continued to perpetrate and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations".
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"At least 40 people are now sentenced to death or are serving life sentences for blasphemy", they wrote.
Sudan has also been severally accused of repressing religious freedoms especially of non-Muslims. Royce, did, however, say he wanted Vietnam to be on the list. "The administration is right to make this a priority".
The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce, (R-CA) said the redesignation of Myanmar as a country of particular concern is particularly appropriate, given its military's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. "The Vietnamese people continue to have their religious freedom and other human rights violated".
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