The Indian American community in the U.S. has launched a White House petition to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, days after a bill in this regard was tabled in the U.S. Congress by two powerful lawmakers.
“This petition is important to the people of United States of America, India and many other countries which are continuously affected by Pakistan sponsored terrorism,” the petition started on Sept. 20 said.
It requires at least 100,000 signatures to qualify for a response from the Obama Administration.
An initiative of President Barack Obama, “We the People,” the online petition service at the White House website, provides a window to American citizens to campaign before the administration on a particular issue. According to a report in the International Business Times Sept. 27, the petition has already crossed 100,000 signatures.
The move comes after Congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, introduced HR 6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act in the House of Representatives. The bill has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.
Simultaneously, the U.S. India Political Action Committee on Sept. 23 launched a nationwide effort to canvass Indian Americans to get their local legislators’ support to HR 6069. “It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is, a state sponsor of terrorism,” Poe said after introducing the bill.
“Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years. From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s,” Poe claimed.
If passed, the bill will require the U.S. president to issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, he said.
“Thirty days after that, the secretary of state must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation,” he added.
Calling it an untrustworthy ally of America, Poe said for years Pakistan has been aiding and abetting the enemies of the U.S. “These are not enemies who simply profess to hate us. These are groups and individuals with American blood on their hands,” he said in his speech on the House floor.
In his remarks in the House, Congressman George Holding said, “Mr. Speaker, we must be honest about the evolving terror threat in front of us and confront this challenge with strong leadership and unwavering resolve.”
The bill requires the administration to formally answer this question. If it passes, it will require the President to issue a report within 90 days detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism. Thirty days after that report, the bill requires the Secretary of State to issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for that designation. “It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” Poe said in a statement after introducing the legislation.