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US Rep Tim Burchett calls for using economic might for Imran Khan’s release

Demands ‘strong letter’ from US State Department to Pakistan
United States Representative Tim Burchett during the Congressional hearing on March 20, 2024. Screengrab via YouTube/
House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans
United States Representative Tim Burchett during the Congressional hearing on March 20, 2024. Screengrab via YouTube/ House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans

United States Representative Tim Burchett has called for using the superpower’s economic might for the release of incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan.

“Former leader of Pakistan who was a friend of America and the Pakistani military has taken him out and imprisoned him and now I am trying to find what the hell is going on over there,” he said in a video post on his social media platform X on Sunday.

He made the video after attending a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting where another US representative Brad Sherman raised some questions.

“I am sure our State Department will write a strong letter and do absolutely nothing,” Burchett said.

“What we need is not military involvement but at some point, if these folks are going to be detriment to us we need to use our economic might. That’s what a world power should do. We don’t need to be sending troops over ships or anything like that, but anyway, so let’s see what happens.”

In the recent past, PTI has approached US lawmakers to win over the Biden administration. Earlier this month, US lawmakers urged President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to refrain from recognising a new government in Pakistan until allegations of election rigging were thoroughly investigated.

They had written a joint letter, expressing concerns about pre- and post-poll rigging in the recent parliamentary elections. They called for a transparent and credible investigation before recognising a new Pakistani government.

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On March 20, the Congress held a hearing on ‘Pakistan after the elections: Examining the future of democracy in Pakistan and the US-Pakistan relationship’ where US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu gave his testimony and answered lawmakers’ queries.

Questions related to Khan’s allegations of US conspiracy and Lu’s alleged involvement in his ouster were also raised which the US diplomat denied.

Burchett was also among them. While asking questions to Lu, he suggested that a strong letter was not enough and advised the US to use its economic might to correct some of its wrongs.

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