Pakistani Americans to actively participate in US elections: Ambassador
WASHINGTON (APP):Pakistani Americans have an important role to play in the upcoming US presidential elections and could use the community's leverage in their favor if and united and organized, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani said.
At the annual Convention of Pakistani-Americans community being held at Pakistan's Embassy in Washington, Ambassador Jilani stated that CPAC has now an established platform and can take concrete actions for tangible outcome.
A large number of Pakistani Americans from various states attended the convention, which discussed the current state of US-Pakistan relations, economic opportunities in Pakistan for overseas Pakistanis, and the need for the community to act in unison for mutual benefit.
Referring to the upcoming US elections, the Ambassador said that the role of Pakistani American community at this political juncture is very important. "Regardless of your numbers in the overall electoral calculus, most of you could use the community's leverage in your favor if you are united and organized."
"One of the most important steps you could take is to mobilize political support from within the community, write letters, emails, and messages to your political representatives and connect with them," he said, and urged the community use their communication in emphasizing true perspective of Pakistan.
In the face of given challenges, the Ambassador urged the community to encourage the young generation of Pakistani Americans to join government jobs which, he said, may be less attractive from economic viewpoint initially, but would go a long way in securing their rights through a clout that cannot be bought through financial means alone.
The ambassador said that perceptional challenges faced by the Pakistani American community may aggravate "should the winds of political change start blowing from a certain political quarter in the coming elections." He said it was, therefore, imperative for the community to get united and have voice that could reach the power echelons.
Referring to recent terrorist attacks in various US states, he said these attacks brought the community under spotlight and needs to be seen seriously. A common strategy needs to be devised by the community itself to safeguard its interests in such dire situations in future, he added,
Apprising the community of the recent state of relations between Pakistan and the US, Ambassador Jilani said that it is longstanding and has stood the test of times. He expressed the confidence that despite challenges in the relationship, "the institutional framework of cooperation remains intact. Both our countries believe that persistence of challenges call for greater need to remain engaged for our mutual interest."
He said it was reassuring that despite some differences, both sides remain committed to enhancing their convergences. He said Pakistan and U.S. have common stakes in the regional and international peace, nuclear security and non-proliferation, combating international terrorism and socio-economic development.
Pakistan is fully committed to continuing our strategic relationship with the United States, he added.
The Ambassador said that the democratic government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in its fourth year and political forces in the country remain committed to further consolidation of democracy.
"Turning around the economy, overcoming the energy crisis, combating extremism and terrorism and investing in education have been the key priorities of the Government since day one," he added.
On ties with India, the Ambassador expressed his disappointment that Pakistan's peace initiatives have been seen as a sign of weakness by India. "We want to again emphasize that Pakistan seeks peace but we will not be intimidated. We want peace with honor and dignity."
The ambassador called on the United States and the international community to take note of gross human rights violations by the Indian forces in the held-Kashmir to restrain India's aggression and stop it from committing grave human rights abuses against innocent civilians.
The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Kashmir Senator Mushahid Hussain and MNA Dr. Shazra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the Government’s efforts on the Kashmir issue.
The speakers including State Department’s special representative to Muslim communities and Dr. Ishrat Hussain, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, highlighted the growing importance of Pakistani American community and their positive contributions in building Pak-U.S. relations and the socio-economic development of both countries.
The participants of the Convention greatly appreciated the Embassy's outreach efforts and drastic improvement in the services rendered by the Embassy and the Consulates General of Pakistan in the United States.