WASHINGTON: A powerful committee of the US Senate urged the government of Pakistan on Thursday to immediately restore internet services across the country and de-escalate tensions.

In a statement, also pos­ted on its official social media accounts, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said it was “closely monitoring the dev­elopments in Pakistan,” which it described as ‘concerning’.

“I support de-escalation efforts and call for the immediate restoration of public access to internet services,” the committee’s chairman Senator Bob Menendez said in the statement.

“These shutdowns dangerously suppress the Pakistani people’s freedoms, including access to information.”

The committee plays a key role in shaping US foreign policies, allocates funds for the implementation of those policies, and has the power to approve or reject all diplomatic appointments.

Meanwhile, the UN rights chief urged Pakistan security forces to show “restraint” and said “protesters should refrain from violence”, after the former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest sparked nationwide civil unrest.

“Freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and rule of law are key to resolving political conflicts — with no place for disproportionate force,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights Volker Turk tweeted, according to AFP.

Date for elections

A US senator has urged the US State Department to ask the government of Pakistan to fix a date for elections while other lawmakers said they were monitoring the situation very carefully.

Also, PTI supporters in the United States welcomed the Supreme Court’s order to release Imran Khan but continued their protest against the government’s crackdown on party workers across Pakistan.

“I am concerned about the situation in Pakistan. I have been following it very closely,” Senator Chris Van Hollen told VOA Deewa, a Pashto news show for Pakistan.

“I intend today to talk to some of our key people at the State Department about the situation there.”

The Democratic senator, who was born in Karachi, said: “Pakistan needs to get on track towards elections” to end the current political crisis.

He said that in his conversation with the State Department officials he would emphasise the need to “make sure that we agree upon dates for elections. So that people in Pakistan get to choose their leaders in a free and fair way”.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2023

Opinion

On writing

On writing

There is no ceremony or ritual that marks any person as a writer except the simple yet unimaginably significant act of starting to write.

Editorial

A way forward
Updated 17 Jul, 2024

A way forward

Before political leaders inflict more damage, they must give talks a chance.
Export delusions
Updated 18 Jul, 2024

Export delusions

Plummeting exports as a ratio of GDP is one of the major reasons driving the current economic slowdown and the balance-of-payments crisis.
Diversity in UK politics
17 Jul, 2024

Diversity in UK politics

THE recent UK elections have ushered in the most diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Under the leadership...
Banning PTI
Updated 16 Jul, 2024

Banning PTI

It appears that the govt and its backers within the establishment have still not realised that they are in uncharted territory.
Nato at 75
16 Jul, 2024

Nato at 75

EMERGING from the ashes of World War II, and locked in confrontation with the Soviet-led Communist bloc for over ...
Non-stop massacres
16 Jul, 2024

Non-stop massacres

Netanyahu is cunningly pretending to talk peace while mercilessly pounding Gaza. What is clear is that a return to pre-Oct 7 status quo is impossible.