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US legislators ask govt to help ease Pakistan crisis

Updated May 23, 2019

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US lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to help Pakistan overcome the current economic crisis while asking Islamabad to focus its attention on creating more opportunities for its people. — AP/File
US lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to help Pakistan overcome the current economic crisis while asking Islamabad to focus its attention on creating more opportunities for its people. — AP/File

WASHINGTON: US lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to help Pakistan overcome the current economic crisis while asking Islamabad to focus its attention on creating more opportunities for its people.

At the annual bipartisan Iftar of the Pakistani American Political Action Committee (PAKPAC) on Tuesday evening, the lawmakers also advised the Trump administration not to go to war with Iran as it would destabilise the entire region.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the founder chairperson of the Pakistan caucus in the US Congress, while highlighting the need to revive the once close relationship between the United States and Pakistan, emphasised the need to help Pakistan overcome the current economic crisis.

“We should do whatever we can to ensure that there’s an improvement in the lives of Pakistani people,” she said. The Pakistani government, she said, should also focus on providing “education and development opportunities” to its people.

Underlining Pakistan’s role in the war against terror, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, a Democrat, noted the sacrifices the Pakistani people, particularly its armed forces, had made in this war.

“To me it (America’s relationship with Pakistan) matters because of the important contributions you (the Pakistani American community) make here,” said Congressman Jim Banks, the Republican co-chair of the Pakistan caucus. “And also because the two countries have had a broad and deep relationship” that has promoted peace and stability in the world, he added. “I want to make it better and stronger because it has helped both.”

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, urged the Pakistani American community to actively participate in American politics. She said she was elected to Congress with 50 votes and “this could not have happened without support from the Pakistani Americans in my constituency”.

Congressman Jack Bergman, a former general, advised the Trump administration to avoid “muscle flexing” and peacefully resolve its differences with Iran.

Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim Congresswomen, said that Muslims “have been unjustly targeted to ignite fear and promote an agenda of hate.

Tonight, we recommit to being rooted in justice, inclusivity and a sense of belonging”.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2019