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US legislator calls on Antony Blinken to support Pakistan’s democracy, human rights

Congressman Brad Sherman has written to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to draw attention to the human rights and democratic problems in Pakistan

and to reiterate Washington’s support for Islamabad’s upholding the freedom to speak, organize, and demonstrate peacefully.

The letter, dated April 12, was released by Sherman on his Twitter account. In it, he praised the US government’s assistance to Pakistan in times of need and urged Pakistan’s top diplomat to defend human rights because doing so served Pakistan’s interests as a whole.

“I understand that protecting human rights is a top priority for you, and I applaud both your dedication and the Administration’s efforts in these areas. I appreciate Pakistan’s constitution and democratic process, so the United States stays out of its internal political disputes, but we shouldn’t be afraid to speak up when the human rights of the Pakistani people are in jeopardy, he wrote.

After Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hired a new lobbying agency to advance its objectives abroad, the letter was sent a week after former prime minister Imran Khan spoke with Sherman over the phone. Sherman is one of the most powerful American senators and officials.

A peaceful, orderly, democratic, and wealthy Pakistan where Pakistanis can engage in a free and open political discussion is essential “In his three-page letter, Sherman said.

He also expressed concern over recent events, “particularly the reported torture and even sexual abuse of political leaders,” such as Jameel Farooqui, a journalist, and Shahbaz Gill, Khan’s chief of staff.

“Thankfully, they were both freed, but their treatment and confinement have left a terrible impression. In response to Gill’s complaints, Human Rights Watch (HRW) demanded an immediate inquiry, noting “many plausible allegations of torture and ill-treatment of political opponents” in Pakistan during past administrations. Also, HRW questioned Gill’s sedition allegations. the detention of former minister Ali Amin Gandapur on April 6.

The member drew attention to the several legal actions taken against PTI leader as well as the “use of force against his supporters, the incarceration of protestors under wide counter-terrorism laws, and the restriction of space for free speech.”

Congressman Sherman encouraged Pakistan to accept the Supreme Court’s decision that the elections should take place on time, noting that efforts by the authorities to delay polls in two crucial provinces are another example of “skirting” democratic processes.

Additionally, he requested that the secretary of state convene a committee of legal professionals to evaluate the Supreme Court’s ruling about the election delay since the government believes that the entire court should hear the case.

“I’ll keep an eye on the situation. I beg you to use all US diplomatic channels to push Pakistani authorities to look into the alleged abuses and to hold accountable anybody who may be implicated. You should also direct US-Pakistan policy toward a better commitment to human rights.

Most essential, I implore the authorities to ensure that moving forward there be no anti-democratic implications for public personalities or citizens who only want to demonstrate.

In the final paragraph of the letter, Sherman stated that since the US and Pakistani relationship is one of the most crucial ones in terms of foreign policy, it should represent US priorities with regard to Pakistani democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

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