March 2004 News

Indian lobbying group has Kashmir hearing scuttled

4 March 2004
The Daily Times

WASHINGTON: An Indian-American activist group hasn't stopped patting itself on the back since it successfully managed to have congressional hearings on Kashmir that would have brought human rights violations in the occupied areas of the state to attention indefinitely put off.The hearing on Kashmir - billed 'Decades of Terror Exploring Human rights Abuses in Kashmir and the Disputed Territories' - was to take place on March 3 before the House Committee on Government Reform's Sub- committee on Human Rights.According to a triumphant press release issued by the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), 'Goaded by Robert Giuda, a lawmaker in the New Hampshire State Assembly who has formed a pro-Pakistani organisation called 'Americans For Resolution of Kashmir'. This was a deliberate move by an anti-India leader, Congressman Dan Burton, to slander the image of India before the US Congress by focusing on 'atrocities being perpetrated by India against the people of Kashmir'.'There has been no word on this fiasco and setback from either the Pakistan embassy here or any of the Pakistani-American community leaders who have now developed a rather unenviable reputation for 'promising the moon' to government leaders back in Islamabad while doing precious little on the ground to advance legitimate Pakistani interests in the US.According to the Indian lobbying group, 'These hearings could have led to critical and unfavourable US policies causing serious damage to the US's relationship with India. Reacting to the seriousness of the issue, USINPAC jumped into the fray. From the moment it came to know about the hearings, USINPAC questioned its timing (when peace talks are going on) and also expressed serious reservations about the quality and fairness (and the questionable character) of some of the witnesses. The message was consistently conveyed to key congressmen.'The Indian lobbying outfit said it was with pleasure that it was informing its supporters that 'finally, USINPAC's vigorous efforts on the Hill, backed by your support have resulted in an indefinite postponement of these hearings. While this development is undoubtedly a severe setback for the anti-India lobbyists, we should continue to prepare well to effectively counteract these lobbyists should Representative Dan Burton convene a future hearing. We would like to congratulate all of you for this achievement and extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of you who made this effort a success'. -Khalid Hasan


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