US has started to raise concerns over internal matters and internal politics of Pakistan

US has started to raise concerns over internal matters and internal politics of Pakistan

WASHINGTON: United States has started to raise concerns over the internal politics and internal matters of the state of Pakistan.

The recent concerns shown in the US House over the disappearance of some of the anti state activists is a testimony to the fact.

The alleged disappearances of political activists in Pakistan surfaced in a US Congress subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon, as lawmakers urged the Trump administration to raise this issue with Islamabad.

At this special hearing of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, lawmakers also accused Pakistan of continuing to allow Afghan extremists to destabilise the government in Kabul, a charge raised at a Senate hearing on Tuesday as well. The lawmakers also backed President Donald Trump’s Jan 4 decision to suspend security assistance to Pakistan.

As relations between the two countries strained, US lawmakers, think-tanks and media too have started taking a keen interest in Pakistan’s domestic politics, highlighting the grievances of smaller political, religious and ethnic groups.

Such groups have also become active in the US capital and other cities, holding protest meetings and marches. Although such meetings are always tiny, the dissidents are often invited to air their views at larger congressional meetings and media platforms. But congressional hearings like the one held on Wednesday afternoon are rare.

Aqil Shah, one of the two witnesses who spoke about disappearances in Sindh and Balochistan, said that although “disappearing” political opponents of the government in Pakistan was an old practice it has increased in recent years.

In recent years, the agencies responsible for these disappearances “have broadened their crackdown to include social media and other political activists, rights defenders, and reporters”, said Mr Shah, who teaches South Asian politics at University of Oklahoma.

He also quoted from a report by Pakistan’s official Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappear­ances, which received nearly 300 cases of enforced disappearances from August to October 2017, the highest since its creation in 2011.

“The US should work with its allies to urge Pakistan to strengthen the Commission on Enforced Disappearances, and the National Human Rights Commission, and to urgently ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances,” Mr Shah said.