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Monday, May 20, 2024  
11 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Head of Congressional Pakistan caucus voices concerns for Imran Khan

Sheila Jackson Lee says she will write to President Biden and Secretary Blinken
Sheila Jackson Lee. PHOTO REUTERS
Sheila Jackson Lee. PHOTO REUTERS

Sheila Jackson Lee, the head of the Pakistan caucus of the US Congress has voiced her concerns over the “unfairness” meted out to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, whom she described as “the former head of state” and said that she will write to US president and the secretary of state.

Lee, who has played key role in Pakistan-US diplomatic relations, fired a series of tweets on Friday evening (late night in Washington DC) and her message coincided with Imran Khan’s appeal for “immediate talks” with the institutions.

“As the founder and chair of the U.S. House’s Congressional Pakistan caucus, I am extremely concerned about the reports that are coming out of Pakistan of human rights abuses and the lack of protection for those who express peaceful opposition to the government.

“I am particularly concerned that the former head of state has been arrested multiple times and there appears to be no provisions for a just response to this apparent unfairness and to those who should have rights to a free, safe and unfettered protest. “I will be writing to President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken to ask them to insist on the ending of these human rights violations against the opposition and others. “And additionally, to ensure that we continue to promote the U.S. and Pakistani relationship and a democratic Pakistan. “

‘Plan to squeez Khan’

Lee was not the only American to express concerns about Imran Khan on Friday night. Woodrow Wilson analyst Michael Kugelman suggested that the Pakistani authorities were preparing to “squeez” Imran Khan. But the PTI chairman will remain a challenge for the civilian and military leadership, he said.

In a series of tweets, Kugelman said the authorities want to reduce Khan to “using his bully pulpit on social media” as leaders quit his party.

“The current plan seems to be to squeeze Khan by targeting all those around him, and his support base, until his party is hollowed out and he has nothing left to work with-rendering him isolated, weak, fearing for his life, and reduced to using his bully pulpit on social media.

“But he remains a challenge for the civilian and military leadership so long as he remains free. He can still galvanize and mobilize, and try to revitalize the party. So the next steps could be to ban the party and disqualify Khan-though both could face challenges in the courts.”

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Kugelman