WASHINGTON – Several United States lawmakers, including Congressman Brad Sherman, have made a collective call for the implementation of free, fair, and internationally-monitored general elections in Pakistan.
This demand was voiced during an event called ‘Status of Human Rights and Democracy in Pakistan,’ where critical issues pertaining to Pakistan were discussed. These issues encompassed human rights violations, cases of missing persons, the upcoming general elections, politically-motivated arrests, the importance of media freedom, and the promotion of democracy.
Congressman Sherman emphasized that this is a challenging time for Pakistan and reaffirmed America’s commitment to the principles of the rule of law and democracy. He stressed that the United States is dedicated to these ideals above any specific agreement on foreign policy with a particular prime minister.
The event, organised by prominent Pakistani-American figure Dr Asif Mahmood and hosted by Congressmen Sherman and Jim Costa, was attended by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters who displayed portraits of journalist Imran Riaz Khan and incarcerated fashion designer Khadija Shah, a dual citizen detained by Pakistani authorities following the May 9 violent incidents.
During the event, short videos depicting alleged brutality and the May 9 riots were screened, albeit without audio. Additionally, Riaz’s family made an appeal for his location and for him to be presented before the courts.
The discussion delved into the pressing issues faced by Pakistan, with some US lawmakers urging the government to refrain from trying civilians in military courts and calling for the repeal or modification of the blasphemy law.
Throughout the nearly two-hour event, the Pakistani government was repeatedly urged to announce an election date and allow international monitoring to ensure the forthcoming elections are free, fair, and transparent. Congressman Kweisi Mfume even demanded oversight from the United Nations.
Furthermore, Congressman Eric Swalwell sent a letter to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington to inquire about Riaz’s whereabouts.
Other Congressmen, including Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Mike Levin, stressed the significance of upholding human rights, standing up for democratic values, and preserving freedom of speech.
Congresswoman Judy Chu acknowledged the importance of the American alliance with Pakistan for safety and security in South Asia but expressed concern that the current situation in Pakistan poses a threat to its own security.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on February 25, 2024 (Sunday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.55 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 302 for buying and 305 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.5 for buying, and 356 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.1 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
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