Pak PM faces protests during the first US visit

Pak PM faces protests during the first US visit

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (AFP File Photo)

Prime Minister Imran Khan on his maiden visit to the US faced protests by ethnic and religious minorities from Pakistan, drawing the attention of the Trump administration towards human rights violations and forced disappearances in that country.

The Mohajirs and the Balochs are accusing the Pakistani security agencies of engaging in human rights violations against the minority communities.

Mohajirs are Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India during partition. A large number of Mohajirs reside in Sindh province's urban areas - notably in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur. The minority group has time and again accused the Pakistan government of human rights violation.

Balochs living in the US have been raising their voice against alleged atrocities, disappearance and human rights violations in the country's southwestern Balochistan province by Pakistani security forces.

At separate rallies in front of the White House, US Capitol and in front of US Institute of Peace building, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) brought together ethnic and minority groups, including Balochs, to protest against Khan.

MQM held a peaceful protest against Khan in front of the US Capitol on Sunday alleging that Mohajirs are being subjected to grave human rights violations in Karachi and other parts of the country.

A group of Baloch activists also raised anti-Pakistan slogans during Prime Minister Khan's address to the diaspora here, demanding freedom for the country's southwestern Balochistan province on Monday.

Khan was on a three-day visit to the US where he met President Trump and discussed ways to resolve the Afghanistan conflict and the challenge terrorism poses to the regional stability.

The Jul 21-23 visit of the prime minister was the first summit-level engagement between Pakistan and the United States since 2015.

The protesters belonging to Mohajir (MQM), Baloch, Pashtoon, Sindhi, Giligit Baltistan and Saraiki communities urged the US Government to raise the issue of human rights violations with Khan during their meeting.

“We demand (to) stop mass killings of civilians and state-sponsored terrorism by the Pakistan Army in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Rehan Ibadat, one of the protesters who joined the protest in front of the White House on Monday, said.

The protesters sought the release of political prisoners, members of Parliament Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar from the custody of Pakistan military and demanded lifting ban on Altaf Hussain and speeches of other political leaders. 

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