Washington, Sep 24: The Indian-American community in the US has launched a White House petition to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, days after a bill in this regard was tabled in the US Congress by two powerful lawmakers.
"This petition is important to the people of United States of America, India and many other countries which are continuously affected by Pakistan sponsored terrorism," the petition started on Tuesday said.
It requires at least 1,00,000 signatures to qualify for a response from the Obama Administration. An initiative of US President Barack Obama, "We the People", the online petition service at the White House website provides a window to American citizens to campaign before the administration on a particular issue.
The move comes after Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, introduced H R 6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act in the House of Representatives.
The bill has been sent to House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action. Simultaneously the US India Political Action Committee on yesterday launched a nationwide effort to canvass Indian Americans to get their local legislators' support to H R 6069.
"It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is, a state sponsor of terrorism," Congressman Ted Poe said after introducing the bill in the US House of Representatives. "Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.
From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it's not America's," Poe claimed.
If passed, the bill will require the US President to issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, he said.
"Thirty days after that, the Secretary of State must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation," he added.
Calling it a untrustworthy ally of America, Poe said for years Pakistan has been aiding and abetting the enemies of the US. "These are not enemies who simply profess to hate us.
These are groups and individuals with American blood on their hands," he said in his speech on the House floor. In his remarks in the House, Congressman George Holding said, "Mr Speaker, we must be honest about the evolving terror threat in front of us and confront this challenge with strong leadership and unwavering resolve".