Justice Markandey Katju: Pakistani Americans need to join hands with Indian counterparts to free Imran Khan

By Justice Markandey Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman of Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Overseas Pakistanis have been holding rallies and demonstrations in USA and other countries, demanding freeing of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in jail since August last year, but to no avail.

In my opinion, a mistake which these overseas Pakistanis have made is not joining hands with overseas Indians, and not forming a joint Indo-Pak overseas organization to deal with their problems, and unitedly struggling for them. After all, we share the same culture, were one for over 500 years since the time of Mughal Emperor Akbar, look like each other, and have many traits in common. In fact, abroad, Indians and Pakistanis socialize and often intermix as if there never had been a Partition in 1947.

People of Pakistani descent settled in the USA are only about 630,000, but people of Indian descent are about 5 million, or about 1.5% of the US population. Clearly the efforts of Pakistanis would be increased and strengthened almost 8 times if they form a joint organization with the Indians in the USA, and then their voice will be far more effective.

So, I suggest the leaders of the Pakistani organizations in America to meet the leaders of the Indian community there to discuss this matter soon, and set up such a united organization.

This joint organization should then hold joint demonstrations, and meet the US officials and impress upon them the fact that it is in the interest of the US government if there is peace in Pakistan, which is only possible by free and fair elections (it is well known that the elections of 8th February were massively rigged).

US firms have made huge investments in Pakistan, and these would be jeopardized and become unsafe if there is no law and order and peace in Pakistan. Imran Khan has no doubt made many anti-American statements, but there is no reason why in a cool atmosphere a deal cannot be struck with him. After all, he has lived in Western countries, and cannot be inherently anti-American.

Once such a deal is struck, the Pakistani army, which follows the lead of America, will change its tune, and give up its hostility to Imran Khan, and set him free.

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