FO rejects US congressmen letter on Pakistan’s rights situation

Mariana Baabar
Friday, May 26, 2023

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said it did not agree with the contents of the letter written to Secretary of State Antony Blinken by US congressmen on the human rights situation following the May 9 vandalism.

More than 60 members of the US Congress had asked Blinken to exert pressure on the Pakistani government in order to address the human rights situation in the country.

The letter, co-authored by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, was signed by 65 other lawmakers “deeply troubled by the democratic backsliding and human rights abuses” in Pakistan following the tragic events of May 9 during which protesters attacked military and government installations.

The deadly protests, triggered by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest, claimed the lives of at least 10 people and injured dozens of others, with the authorities arresting thousands of party workers and leaders.

“We have seen the letter. We do not agree with the characterisation of the events of May 9 and the situation in Pakistan, as reflected in that letter,” the spokesperson at the Foreign Office said in the weekly press briefing.

She said the National Security Committee (NSC), comprising top civil and military leadership of the country, spelt out the factual situation around the events of May 9.

“Pakistan remains committed to its constitutional obligations to protect the rights and property of all its citizens. These constitutional guarantees and fundamental freedoms are being underwritten by our judiciary,” the spokesperson added.

While categorically rejecting India’s move to host the meeting of G-20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar on May 22-24, the spokesperson greatly appreciated the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Türkiye, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Sultanate of Oman for not attending the Srinagar meeting.