File photo Pak PM Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )
Highlighting the widespread issue of enforced disappearances at the hands of the Pakistani government, the ten leaders said, 'Hundreds of people in Sindh have disappeared this way, including writers, students, activists, and politicians who campaign for human rights.'
Ten US lawmakers have written to US President Donald Trump, urging him to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Pakistan's Sindh - including enforced disappearances - during his upcoming meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In a letter addressed to Trump on July 19, the lawmakers highlight that human rights abuses, at the hands of the authorities, continue to prevail in the Pakistani province, despite Washington having provided more than $30 billion in aid to the South Asian country.
The aid, according to them, was supposed to improve social and economic conditions in Pakistan, as well as promote good governance - improvements that have not occurred.
"Nowhere is that failure more evident than in Sindh Province, which has continued to suffer from numerous economic and social injustices, often at the hands of the Pakistani government," the lawmakers state.
They go on to highlight the failures and "injustices" in Sindh, including the recent outbreak of HIV in the province, enforced disappearances and the forced conversions of young girls to Islam.
Highlighting the widespread issue of enforced disappearances at the hands of the Pakistani government, the ten leaders said, "Hundreds of people in Sindh have disappeared this way, including writers, students, activists, and politicians who campaign for human rights. Some of these individuals have ended up dead, and their families have never received the justice they deserve."
They also shed light on the human rights abuse of minorities, with young Hindu and Christian girls being kidnapped and forcefully converted to Islam. They are often married off to men decades older to them, the lawmakers said."
Other injustices in Sindh Province are deliberately carried out by the Pakistani state and its supporters," they stated.
"According to an independent Pakistani watchdog group, there were around one-thousand cases of forced conversions in Sindh Province in 2018 alone. The actual number is certainly higher. Shockingly, there are no laws in Sindh banning forced conversions," they added.
Other social injustices the Pakistani province faces is widespread medical negligence, with the recent outbreak of HIV serving as the prime example.
The reason behind the outbreak is being pegged on syringes and needles being reused, as well as unsafe blood transfusions by the lawmakers.
"In one town, at least 681 people tested positive for HIV in one month earlier this year.
Of these, 537 were children, including a tragic case of a 16-month-old little girl," the lawmakers claimed.
"This isn't the first time that reckless negligence has caused HIV outbreaks in Sindh Province - in one outbreak in 2016, 1,521 people were found to be HIV positive in another part of Sindh," they added.
The lawmakers slam Pakistan, stating that the outbreak is "simply unacceptable," especially when the United States has given Pakistan $283 million in health assistance since 2001."As you seek to change Pakistani behaviour on issues like terrorism, it is essential that you also push the Pakistani government to improve the lives of its citizens," the lawmakers lastly told Trump in the letter.
The 10 lawmakers include Brad Sherman, Adam B. Schiff, Eleanor H Norton, David E Price, David Schweikert, Dan Crenshaw, Juan Vargas, Carolyn B Maloney, Jan Schakosky and Ann Wagner.