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US lawmakers want Pak designated as state sponsor of terror

Source : Sunday Guardian LIVE

US lawmakers want Pak designated as state sponsor of terror
Republican Lawmaker, US Congressman Scott Perry (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)



The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs will deliberate on a bill that seeks to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. The bill “Stopping Pakistani Terror Act” that was introduced in the Congress by US Congressman Scott Perry on 8 March, seeks “designation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and for other purposes.”

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives after which it has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. As per the bill, “Effective on the date that is 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall be deemed to be a country the government of which the [US] Secretary of State determines has repeatedly provided support for international terrorism.”

If the bill is passed by the House, the Senate and signed by the President, Pakistan will face multiple sanctions that include restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defence exports and sales, financial transactions and others under multiple Acts, including Export Control Reform Act of 2018, Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and Arms Export Control Act.

The bill has been introduced by Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania, Scott Gordon Perry who joined politics after serving in the armed forces for 39 years, going on to become Brigadier General during which he commanded a battalion in Iraq.

On 9 March, Perry and two other members of Congress wrote to US Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the Islamist ties of the newly appointed ambassador from Pakistan, Masood Khan who, in 2020, had called on the US to release a terrorist convicted of trying to kill American soldiers.

In their letter, Congressmen Perry, Mary Miller and Gregory Steube have asked Garland to investigate Masood Khan’s relationships with a number of terrorist groups in Pakistan which the lawmakers fear represent a threat to US national security. The three-page letter contains proof showing Khan’s links with terrorist groups, including Pakistan intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligences (ISI).

Earlier on 27 January, Parry had sent a letter to the Biden Administration requesting the President to reject Khan’s diplomatic credentials “in light of Khan’s perverse attachment to Islamic terrorism”. Last year on 29 September, a group of 29 high-profile US Senators had moved a bill in the US Senate seeking imposition of sanctions on the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan. The bill titled “Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act”, also called for, “Identification of areas where the United States Government can strengthen diplomatic, economic, and defense cooperation with the Government of India, as appropriate, to address economic and security challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and the Taliban in the region, and an assessment of how the changes to India’s security environment resulting from the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan will affect United States engagement with India.”

The lawmakers also called for an assessment of support that was given by Pakistan to the Taliban. “An assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020, including the provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction.”

And—“An assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the 2021 offensive of the Taliban that toppled the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including the provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction.”

And—“An assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the September 2021 offensive of the Taliban against the Panjshir Valley and the Afghan resistance.” It is pertinent to mention that the Imran Khan government, ever since coming to power in August 2018, has engaged at least five lobbying firms in the United States to create a positive and a favourable image of his government and country among the people who matter. Apart from these five US-based companies lobbying for Pakistan, five other limited liability companies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are also registered in the US to lobby for Pakistan with US policymakers.

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