Wednesday, September 21, 2016

US lawmakers table bill to designate Pakistan a terrorist state

Two powerful American lawmakers have introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, saying it was time the US stopped paying the country for its “betrayal”.

The ‘Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act (HR 6069)’ has been moved by Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Dana Rohrabacher, who is a ranking member of the influential Congressional Committee on Terrorism.

“It is time we stopped paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism,” said Poe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism.

“Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years,” Poe said.

“From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the war on terror. And it’s not America’s,” he alleged.

Poe said the bill will require the Obama administration to formally answer this question. The president must issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, he said.

“Thirty days after that, the secretary of state (John Kerry) must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation,” Poe said.

In a separate statement, Congressman Pete Olson supported every effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the Indian army camp in Uri by Pakistan-backed terrorists.

“I strongly condemn this terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir that resulted in the death of 18 Indian soldiers. India is a strong partner and ally in peace,” he said, adding “I support every effort to find out who committed this heinous act, so that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Senator John Cornyn, co-chair of the Senate-India Caucus, tweeted a story which said the Indian Army had suffered its biggest setback in a decade. Indian-Americans continued to rally behind the call for designating Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.

“Pakistan has been pursuing for almost 30 years the state-sponsored terrorism as its strategic policy to further its sinister designs across its borders. In the process, Pakistan became a cradle and epicenter of global terrorism. At present, it is totally isolated in the global community and turning into a rogue state,” said Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP)-USA.

“OFBJP-USA believes that the attack at Indian Army in Uri by Pakistanis should not be termed as another incident of terrorism by infiltrators, but it should be considered as an act of war by Pakistan against India. And India must respond to teach a befitting lesson to Pakistan,” it said.

In the meantime, Pakistan rejected a US request to restrict its nuclear program.

US secretary of state John Kerry, during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York, urged him to limit Pakistan’s atomic program.

Sharif said that should be implemented by its neighbor India.

He told Kerry that more than 107 people have been “assassinated” in Kashmir, thousands injured and “worst human rights violations are being committed at the state level.”

Sharif has raised the Kashmir issue with almost every world leader he has held talks with on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, but his efforts to internationalize the dispute with India appeared to have gained no traction.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made no reference to Kashmir in his final speech to the United Nations General Assembly as the UN chief on Tuesday.


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