Pakistan allows anti-India terrorists to use its territory: US lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard

Pakistan is allowing its soil to be used by terrorists operating in India, Afghanistan and other nations, says Tulsi Gabbard, the new co-chair of India Caucus of the House of Representatives

world Updated: Mar 23, 2017 22:54 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Tulsi Gabbard,first Hindu in US Congress,Pakistan
File photo of Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu member of the US Congress who was recently elected co-chair of the India Caucus of the House of Representatives.(Courtesy: Tulsi Gabbard’s website)

Pakistan continues to allow its territories to be used by terrorists operating in India, Afghanistan and other nations and they have the “tacit and overt support” of officials in the host government, says Tulsi Gabbard, the newly elected co-chair of the India Caucus of the House of Representatives.

“In Congress, I’ve worked to cut back US assistance for Pakistan, particularly any military assistance, and increase pressure on Pakistan to stop these dangerous actions and break these ties,” the Democrat from Hawaii, a third-term member of the House of Representatives, said in an interview to Hindustan Times.

Gabbard, 35, moved a legislation, Stop Arming Terrorists Act, in the House in January that‘s aimed at ending US funding of terrorist groups in Syria and the region, which has been the focus of her attention in recent months, but if passed it would outlaw US funding for countries that back terrorism, such as Pakistan.

It has bipartisan support, as is reflected in its co-sponsors — six Republicans and three Democrats — and it was introduced in the senate in March by members of the upper chamber who are backing it. Leading them is Rand Paul, a fiercely libertarian Republican who has called Pakistan a “Frenemy”.

On hate crimes against Indians, Gabbard said, “The recent rise of violence against Indians, Hindus, Sikhs, and other religious and ethnic minorities is deeply concerning. In the 115th Congress, we will continue our work to increase awareness and understanding across our communities, and urge the department of justice to investigate these horrific acts and address the rise of hate crimes across the country.”

Gabbard also called for a reasonable US stand on the H-1B visa programme, saying, “We cannot make cuts or limitations on immigration that do not take into account the broader economic and social impact for our country and for our friends around the world.”

The Trump administration is understood to be considering a set of measures, through one executive order or more or legislative action, to curb H-1B visas, a temporary work programme for high-skill workers that critics have said is being abused to lay off American workers.

The first Hindu ever elected to US Congress, Gabbard has forged a unique bond with Indian Americans who have adopted her as one of their own brushing aside whatever sets her apart — white, un-hyphenated American, born in the US.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York in September 2014. (PIB)

And she has been a willing and active accomplice — Gabbard is often more culturally Hindu than her Indian American colleagues in Congress and American politics generally. She greets Indian Americans, for one, with “namaskar” and not the standard local fare.

Gabbard, a major in the US Army National Guard who has served two tours of duty in the Middle East, has also struck up a close relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who sent senior BJP official Ram Madhav to represent him at her wedding in Hawaii in 2015, with a gift of a pashmina shawl and Ganesh idol made of five metals.

The congresswoman, a rising star in US politics and member of the House Armed Service and Foreign Affairs Committees, met President-elect Donald Trump in New York just days after his election in November to urge him to end the US-backed war to overthrow the Syrian government, an effort she has introduced legislation on and long fought to end in Congress.

Gabbard was elected co-chair of the India Caucus, with Republican George Holding, last week.

First Published: Mar 23, 2017 13:44 IST