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Friday, February 23, 2024

US lawmakers urge Blinken to pressure Pakistan to improve ‘democracy’ | World News


More than 65 members of the U.S. Congress expressed concern about the situation in Pakistan and urged Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to put pressure on the Pakistani government to improve the human rights situation in the country.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. (Associated Press)

Read it here: Public condemnation of violence: Pakistani president’s ‘advice’ to Imran Khan

Members of the U.S. Congress wrote to the Secretary of State, saying: “As supporters of U.S.-Pakistan relations, we write to express our concern about the current situation in Pakistan and urge you to use all diplomatic tools at your disposal to pressure Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan A greater commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

“This should include a commitment to investigate any violations of freedom of expression and assembly in Pakistan,” the letter further read.

Imran Khan, who was sacked last April following a no-confidence motion, was arrested on May 9, the day of deadly protests in the country. He was detained in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case, but a court later declared his arrest illegal and granted him bail, according to international news reports.

The deadly protest claimed at least 10 lives and injured many others, and authorities arrested not only party leaders but thousands of PTI workers, according to International News.

The letter, co-authored by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, was signed by 65 other lawmakers. It said the situation in Pakistan had become increasingly worrisome over the past few months due to the government’s blanket ban on demonstrations and the death of several prominent critics.

“We ask you to help put pressure on the Pakistani government to ensure that protesters can make their demands peaceful and non-violent, free from harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention. As Democrats and Republicans who care about bilateral relations, we worry Violence and rising political tensions could translate into a deteriorating security situation in Pakistan,” the letter read.

The letter further states that, as supporters of the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries, members of the United States Congress wish to commend the continued focus on Pakistan and your efforts to provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of the historic and devastating floods.

U.S. lawmakers urged the use of all diplomatic means – including visits and public statements – to assert the interests of nations and prevent the erosion of Pakistan’s democratic institutions.

Read it here: Imran Khan says condemning Pakistani army is ‘like criticizing my child’ for him

“Supporting democracy in Pakistan is in the national interest of the United States. At this critical time, U.S. diplomatic leadership is necessary to prevent further erosion of democratic protections. We appreciate the work you are doing and once again urge you to do what you can to address this situation. We look forward to supporting you in this regard,” the letter read.


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