Indian American group requests Biden admin to reject appointment of Pakistan’s new ambassador

Ritu Jha-

An Indian-centric organization in the US has urged President Biden to reject the appointment of Pakistan’s new ambassador to the United States, alleging that the diplomat is a sympathizer and supporter of terrorist groups.

On Wednesday, February 2, the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS), in a statement, urged Biden to reject the appointment of the “Jihadi-terrorist-sympathizer” Masood Khan as Pakistani ambassador to the United States.

FIIDS is a US-based institute for US-India policy studies and awareness.

Khanderao Kand, director for policy research and strategy at FIIDS, when asked on his concern, told indica, “The interests of United States primarily motivated us to present the analysis.”

“It was more concerning as US is the victim of the world’s largest jihadi attack,” Kand said. “We are also concerned about the US interests in South Asia in terms of peace and prosperity in the region of Afghanistan to India, and we are also concerned that this appointment will complicate US relations with its global strategic partner to the joint interests in India Pacific region.”

Notably, Khan’s nomination was sent to Washington by Pakistan Foreign Office in November last year.

“Masood Khan has repeatedly demonstrated a soft spot for Jihadi-terrorists, including Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist operative known as ‘Lady al-Qaeda’. His support to designated terrorist organizations under the US law such as Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), and Jamaat-e-Islami, is not only inimical to US Interests, but also to global peace,” FIIDS said.

“Khan’s diplomatic role in the United States may open an avenue for access for terrorist organizations to US institutions. Furthermore, his former active role as president of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir will complicate US relations with its strategic partner India. His support to the Taliban will also adversely affect US interests in Afghanistan,” it said.

In a detailed statement, FIIDS added that Khan is a supporter of Aafia Siddiqui and had tweeted on May 7, 2020, “@AmbassadorJones: The US Government can find a way to free Aafia Siddiqui. Washington has negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban, once considered inveterate enemies. Room must now be created for Aafia’s freedom. Long overdue.”

The group also alleged that in 2019, Khan shared stage with Fazlur Rehman Khalil, global terrorist and founder of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), designated as a terrorist organization under the US law.

“Masood Khan is also a supporter of Jamaat-e-Islami, whose killing squads helped the Pakistani military carry out acts of genocide against Bangladeshis in 1971 when hundreds of thousands of minorities were raped, killed and millions were displaced,” it said.

“On the fifth death anniversary of dreaded terrorist Burhan Wani, a former commander of Hizbul Mujahideen – a designated terrorist organization under US law, Khan had called out Wani a ‘role model for freedom fighters across the globe’,” the statement said.

FIIDS added that Khan served as president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) until August 25, 2021, with Human Rights Watch reports stating that the Pakistani government represses democratic freedoms, muzzles press and practices routine torture in the PoK.

“During his rule, various press releases published by Khan’s presidential office included support and praise for terrorists such as Junaid Sehrai and Tariq Ahmed Hizbul. Khan said they are martyrs and called their terrorist acts as sacrifices.

“His firm support of terrorists and separatists in Kashmir will create uneasiness and unwarranted complications in US-India relations when the US may need India’s active involvement in the India Pacific region, Afghanistan and Eurasia,” the group added.