Imran khan met US Law makers
23 September, 2019
NEW YORK: The prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday met US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham.
Both are among the most important lawmakers on Capitol Hill and enjoy considerable influence in their parties. Senator Schumer, a New York Democrat, is known for his interest in human rights issues and can be very helpful in highlighting rights violations in held Kashmir.
Senator Graham, a Republican, is among a handful of lawmakers whom President Donald Trump consults on major issues. Recently, he was twice sent to Pakistan to solicit Islamabad’s support for the Afghan peace process.
In Washington’s diplomatic circles, Senator Graham is often credited for arranging Prime Minister Khan’s July visit to the White House that helped improve strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.
Senator Graham was also among those four US senators who wrote a letter to President Trump last week, asking him to take immediate action to end deepening humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir.
They asked him specifically to put pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift the curfew imposed on local residents and restore telecommunication services in the disputed territory, among other steps.
President Trump has repeatedly offered to help mediate the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan but has been rebuffed by Mr Modi, who rejects external help in resolving New Delhi’s disputes with Islamabad.
US special envoy for Afghan peace process Zalmay Khalilzad also had a meeting with the prime minister.
In Washington’s diplomatic circles, it’s often acknowledged that there can never be a durable peace in Afghanistan unless relations between India and Pakistan improve. Apparently, this perception is also linked to President Trump’s repeated offer to help reduce India-Pakistan tensions, particularly over Kashmir.
The prime minister also met Amnesty International’s secretary general Komi Naidoo and discussed with him the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5.
“The prime minister appreciated the lead role that Amnesty is playing in presenting the real state of human rights in the occupied territory and amplifying the voices of the Kashmiri population in a state of seven-week-long lockdown,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations.
These efforts have helped raise international community’s awareness about the continuing suffering of the Kashmiri people.
The prime minister lauded Amnesty’s report on the use of pellet guns by India and their devastating impact on Kashmiri youth.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who also attended the meeting, noted that the two UN reports on Kashmir served as a strong basis for continued civil society advocacy in support of the Kashmiri people.
Mr Naidoo briefed the prime minister on Amnesty’s advocacy work on Kashmir including the recently launched “Let-Kashmir-Speak” campaign.
Others on the prime minister’s list included David Fenton and George Soros. Mr Fenton is the chairman and founder of Fenton Communications, which promotes issue-oriented campaigns focusing on environment, public health and human rights.
Mr Soros is an American investor who still has a net worth of $8 billion even though he has donated more than $32bn to his philanthropic agency, Open Society Foundations.
Mr Khan also held meetings with Kashmiri leaders and the leaders of the Sikh community in the United States.
Later, the prime minister gave interview to various US media networks, explaining Pakistan’s concerns on India’s actions in held Kashmir.
He said that if not resolved the Kashmir dispute could lead to a nuclear conflict in South Asia, which would have disastrous consequences for the entire world.
He appealed to the international community help defuse this potentially dangerous situation.