WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker has called for the designation of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism while two others sought a probe into Ambassador Masood Khan’s alleged links with Kashmiri and Pakistani groups.
The initiator of the move is Scott Perry, a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania.
The bill moved by him seeks to “provide for the designation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, and for other purposes”. The bill has now been referred to the US House committee on foreign affairs.
The proposed sanctions include restrictions on foreign assistance; a ban on defence exports and sales; certain controls over export of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.
Others call for penalising persons and countries engaging in trade with a state declared a sponsor of terrorism.
Only four countries have been designated sponsors of terrorism so far: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
On March 9, three lawmakers — Scott Perry, Gregory Steube and Mary E. Miller — sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, claiming that Ambassador Masood Khan’s close relationship “with domestic actors linked with the Pakistani regime remains a critical concern”.
Masood Khan, Pakistan’s new ambassador to the US, is a senior diplomat who once served in New York as Islamabad’s permanent representative to the United Nations. He was also Azad Kashmir’s president till August last year.
The three US lawmakers have called for an investigation into allegations that Mr Khan, who has already been confirmed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, has links with Muslim groups and organisations in the United States.
Last month, another US lawmaker tried to block Mr. Khan’s posting, but the Biden administration rejected his protest and confirmed the appointment.
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2022