Two powerful American lawmakers have introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, in a setback to Islamabad at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is trying to drum up support over the Kashmir issue.
As Sharif held talks with world leaders on the sidelines of the 71st session of UN General Assembly to internationalise the dispute with India, the two lawmakers said it was time that the US stopped paying the country for its "betrayal".
The 'Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act (HR 6069) has been moved by Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Dana Rohrabacher, who is a ranking member of the influential Congressional Committee on Terrorism.
"It is time we stopped paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism," said Poe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism. "Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years," Poe said.
"From harbouring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it's not America's," he alleged.
Poe said the bill will require the Barack Obama administration to formally answer this question.The president must issue a report within 90 days of the passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, he said.
"Thirty days after that, the secretary of state (John Kerry) must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation," Poe said.
In a separate statement, Congressman Pete Olson supported "every effort" to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Uri terrorist attack by Pakistan-backed terrorists. "I strongly condemn this terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir that resulted in the death of 18 Indian soldiers. India is a strong partner and ally in peace," he said.
Senator John Cornyn, co-chair of the Senate-India Caucus, tweeted a story which said the Indian Army had suffered its biggest setback in a decade.
Indian-Americans continued to rally behind the call for designating Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.
"Pakistan has been pursuing for almost 30 years the state sponsored terrorism as its strategic policy to further its sinister designs across its borders. In the process, Pakistan became a cradle and epicenter of global terrorism. At present it is totally isolated in the global community and turning into a rogue state," said Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP)-USA.
"OFBJP-USA believes that the attack at Indian Army in Uri by Pakistanis should not be termed as another incident of terrorism by infiltrators, but it should be considered as an act of war by Pakistan against India. And India must respond to teach a befitting lesson to Pakistan," it said.
(Feature image source: AFP)