WASHINGTON: President Arif Alvi has said that the present government, like its predecessors, is trying to improve relations with the US and Pakistani Americans should support this effort.
“Pakistan belongs to all and all parties, when in power, have tried to maintain close relations with the United States,” the president told the annual convention of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA).
“I know that the present government, like its predecessors, is also trying to improve relations with Washington,” he said. “And what you can do, as Pakistani Americans, is to support this effort, no matter who is in power.”
President Alvi said that as he has lived in the US, he knew that Pakistani Americans maintained close personal and professional relations with other US citizens.
“Use those relations to help Pakistan, remove misgivings and lobby for your homeland, “ he said. “Reach out to your congressmen, women and senators and explain to them why Pakistan is important. Why it cannot be ignored.”
He pointed out that abrupt US withdrawal from Afghanistan has caused “heartburn and misgivings” as Americans tried to understand how Kabul fell. “Play your role. Explain Pakistan’s position to your friends -- political or personal.”
The president said that on such matters, the Pakistani community should stay united and should not allow political differences to hurt key national interests.
But when a journalist suggested that former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s allegation of American interference in Pakistan’s domestic politics has undermined such efforts, he was silenced by PTI supporters who dominated the crowd. They also prevented the president from responding to his remarks.
President Alvi also said that Pakistanis, whether they lived in Pakistan or abroad, cannot remain silent to what’s happening to Muslims in India and in Kashmir.
“When you meet American lawmakers, let them know how the current Indian government is treating Muslims and other minorities, “ he said. “Explain to them how serious is the situation, how it threatens their very existence.”
Responding to a question about the diplomatic cable detailing the alleged US conspiracy to topple Imran Khan, the president said he has already referred the matter to the judicial commission and now the commission should play its part.
“Unfortunately in Pakistan, the results of such probes have never been made public, not even when it involved the assassinations of our prime ministers,” he added.
The president said that all governments have tried to fix the economy but unfortunately “We have not been very successful on this.”
Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2022