US lawmaker seeks terror designation for Pakistan, inquiry against Pakistani envoy’s alleged terror link

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FILE PHOTO: A farmer carries a sack of grass as he walks near the fenced border between India-Pakistan in Ranbir Singh Pura sector near Jammu March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi//File Photo

A U.S. lawmaker has moved a bill seeking the state sponsor of terrorism designation for Pakistan and also sought inquiry against the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Masood Khan, for his alleged terror links. The bill, presented by Republican Congressman Scott Perry to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, seeks to “provide for the designation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, and for other purposes”.

The bill also sought restrictions on foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, export restrictions on dual-use items, and other financial restrictions. Some measures included in the bill also called for penalizing persons and countries engaging in trade with a state declared a sponsor of terrorism.

Earlier, Perry, along with Gregory Steube and Mary E. Miller, sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, alleging that Ambassador Masood Khan’s close relationship “with domestic actors linked with the Pakistani regime remains a critical concern.”

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Significantly, the Biden administration had kept the confirmation of Mosood as ambassador on hold for weeks. However, it wasn’t clear if the delay was because of his talked-about terror links with Kashmir-based terrorist groups.

Masood, who was earlier Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, had been serving as the president of what Pakistan calls “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” till August last year.

Given the US’ dependency on Pakistan for its counter-terror operation in the region, the Biden administration is unlikely to move ahead with designating the country as the state sponsor of terrorism. Furthermore, its dependency on Islamabad has only grown following the Taliban takeover of power in Afghanistan.

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