NEW YORK: In an interview with The Washington Post, US Senate Majority Leader Charles E Schumer has stated that he is willing to use his influence to help repair the damage done to US-Pakistan relations by the anti-American rhetoric of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, The News reported.
The US senator spoke to the American-Pakistan Advocacy Group (APDG) in New York, reiterating the administration’s position on Imran Khan’s claims that US government assistance in overthrowing his government was part of the Biden administration.
According to him, tensions between the two countries have been worsened by the former Pakistani prime minister’s anti-American statements. Schumer has high hopes for Pakistan’s current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to ameliorate the situation, and is willing to do anything he can to help.
According to the US Senate Majority Leader, the United States adheres to a policy of acceptance for individuals who have been elected through a democratic process and upholds democratic norms and ideals.
Hinting at Imran Khan, Schumer said: “Your former prime minister did not talk positive about the US but the incumbent Pakistani premier is expected to help foster bilateral ties between Pakistan and the US.”
To a question as to what the US policy would be if Imran Khan came into power once again after winning elections, he said the US holds a dialogue with an elected head of the government, adding that no matter how intensely you disagree with someone, the best way to resolve issues is to hold a dialogue.
The US senator hoped for the restoration of friendly ties between the two countries and added that Pakistan had remained an ally of the US government. When Schumer asked the gathering whom the Pakistani community in the US supported, some of them said Imran Khan while others defused the situation by saying “mixed”.
Senator Schumer also slammed the Indian government for persecuting Muslims in India and added that he supported the rights of Kashmiri people. The statement of the US senator is quite distinctive and meaningful despite the Indian lobby’s influence on the Biden administration as Schumer is the Leader of the House of his party in the Senate and enjoys great influence. Besides, no candidate has appeared against him in the upcoming US Senate elections and the chances of his return unopposed are very high.
Surprisingly, the remarks of the US senator, criticising Imran Khan and pinning hopes on Shehbaz, sent a wave of despair in the APAG gathering. The sentiments of the organisers of the event were not different from the audience, so they winded up the program abruptly. It is the first time when a key US senator has explicitly opposed Imran Khan’s anti-US rants.