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Pakistani envoys get earful from expats in US

world Updated: Oct 05, 2016 22:16 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Pakistan is taking its case on Kashmir and India to the world, but the efforts by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's envoys in the US are not going according to plan after running into pushback on troubles of its own making. (Reuters)

Pakistan is taking its case on Kashmir and India to the world, but the efforts by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's envoys in the US are not going according to plan after running into pushback on troubles of its own making.

At a think tank event on Wednesday, the envoys, lawmakers Mushahid Hussain Syed and Shazra Mansab, faced allegations of rights violations by Pakistan in Balochistan, Sindh and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from expats from those areas.

"My friend Wahid Baloch, a scholar, disappeared on July 17 and my cousin disappeared for four days and nights recently," said Ahmar Masti Khan, who described himself as an American from "Pakistan-occupied Balochistan".

Citing figures of people believed to have been killed or missing in Balochistan, Khan said, "You guys came and tested your nuclear weapons in Balochistan (Ras Koh Hills in the Chagai district in the southwestern province). Kashmir pales in comparison to what you are doing in Balochistan."

Sufi Laghari, from Sindh province, castigated the envoys about the disappearance of his brother, a doctor, for nine months. And his nephew, an exceptional student had to relocate to Salt Lake City, Utah, to escape harassment from Pakistan‘s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, he said.

Pakistan has few friends left in Washington. Frustration with its dodgy counter-terror efforts peaked earlier this year, leading to Congress denying the Obama administration funds to subsidise the sale of eight F-16 jets.

And the Pentagon announced shortly after that it could not clear the payment of $300 million in military reimbursements to Pakistan for its support of the US-led operations in Afghanistan, over the same reason.

Syed and Mansab have had meetings with state department officials since arriving here on Sunday, but they are not scheduled to meet anyone at the White House, though it was not clear if they had sought a meeting at all.

From Syed's remarks at the think tank event, where he was extremely critical of President Barack Obama and indicated Pakistan had given up on him and was looking beyond to engage with the next administration, he may not have tried for one.

Their presentations to officials and experts have been along the same lines as Prime Minister Sharif's speech at the UN General Assembly last month, including the eulogisation of Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander killed in Kashmir.

India has been prepared for this visit and the allegations that will follow, and has tried to put out its own version of events and views in briefings for media outlets and experts.

"Pakistan needs to be held accountable for its actions,” an Indian diplomat told reporters at a briefing on Monday, according to a report in Foreign Policy.