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Thursday, February 22, 2024

66 US Congressmen urge Blinken to take action on Pakistan’s human rights crisis

66 members of the US Congress have written to Secretary of State Blinken, asking him to exert pressure on the Pakistani government in order to address the continually worsening human rights violations in the country.  

Pakistan’s recent political chaos following the arrest of PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan and the subsequent government action has sparked international concern.

66 members of the US Congress have written to Secretary of State Blinken, asking him to exert pressure on the Pakistani government in order to address the continually worsening human rights violations in the country.

According to the details, the letter, which was co-authored by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, expressed the US lawmakers’ concerns over the democratic backsliding and human rights abuses in Pakistan.

“As proponents of a strong U.S.-Pakistan relationship, we write to express our concerns about the current situation in Pakistan and urge you to use all diplomatic tools at your disposal to pressure the Government of Pakistan towards a greater commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” the letter to Secretary Blinken said.

Read more: US Congressman raises voice for Pakistan in letter to Antony Blinken

The US Congressmen asked for Antony Blinken’s help in pressuring the Government of Pakistan to ensure protestors can assert their demands in a peaceful and non-violent way, free from harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention. The letter further stressed a strong bilateral U.S.-Pakistan relationship and how supporting democracy in Pakistan is in the national interest of the United States.

PAKPAC commends US Congressional efforts for Pakistan

The timing of the letter is crucial as it comes just days after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan which led to widespread chaos and massive protests throughout the nation.

At least 10 lives were lost and numerous individuals sustained injuries during the violent protests, resulting in the apprehension of not only the party leaders but also thousands of PTI workers by the authorities in a massive crackdown.

Therefore, the US Congressional efforts in raising voice for Pakistan have been widely appreciated by the Pakistani-American Political Action Committee (PAKPAC) which has also expressed concern over the political chaos in Pakistan.

PAKPAC released a statement commending the 66 Members of Congress who sent a powerful message to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with their letter on human rights and democratic backsliding in Pakistan.

Read more: US report calls attention to human rights violations in Pakistan

The letter sent to Secretary Blinken underscores the need for the United States to push Pakistan to curb democratic backsliding while also advocating for robust measures to protect human rights, freedom of speech, press freedom, and the rule of law, PAKPAC said.

The Members of Congress have shown exceptional leadership and dedication to democracy and human rights by signing the letter. Their commitment to safeguarding democracy and human rights in Pakistan is a testament to the power of collective action, the statement further said.

“At this critical juncture, with the foundations of democracy in Pakistan under threat, it is heartening to see members of both parties uniting to express their deep concern and stand up for the principles we hold dear. The bipartisan support for this letter demonstrates the unwavering commitment of our elected officials to upholding democracy and human rights, regardless of our political differences,” Asad Malik, President of the PAKPAC National Board said in the statement while emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship during this challenging time for Pakistani democracy.

PAKPAC, on behalf of the Pakistani-American community, also called upon Secretary Blinken and the United States government to lend their unwavering support to ensure a prosperous and democratic future for Pakistan.

PAKPAC representing Pakistani community in the US

The Pakistani American Political Action Committee was founded in 1989 by a group of visionary Pakistani Americans. It is the only Pakistani-American organization registered with the Federal Election Commission, however, it is not affiliated with any political party in Washington or Islamabad.

PAKPAC members are impacting and educating policymakers in the US as decisions made in Washington will affect future generations across the globe. The group has been very active in raising awareness regarding the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan which impacts the US-Pakistan bilateral relations.

Read more: Pakistani Americans lobby Congress

Over the past three weeks, PAKPAC helped more than 2,000 Pakistani Americans write to their members of Congress encouraging them to sign the letter and push the Secretary of State to hold the government of Pakistan accountable on democracy and human rights.

This grassroots organizing within the Pakistani American community demonstrates this group’s growing political power and its increased ability to make its voice heard on the Hill through civic advocacy.