Over possible terror ties, US delays approval of Pakistan's ambassador designate Masood Khan

WION Web Team
Washington, United StatesUpdated: Feb 01, 2022, 10:45 AM IST


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Khalil was said to have had close ties to al-Qaeda and its slain founder, Osama bin Laden, according to the US treasury department

US authorities have deliberately delayed the approval of Pakistan's ambassador-designate Masood Khan's posting as the next Pakistani ambassador to Washington, over possible terror links according to media reports.  

In November, Pakistan named Khan, 70, as its pick for the post in Washington, but reports have been circulating that the US side has not agreed or approved him.

The US side has not signed off on the approval, according to people familiar with the matter. Apparently, the matter had to do with Khan's tenure as president of PoK or Azad Jammu and Kashmir, as Pakistan calls it, between 2016 and 21.

Republican congressman Scott Perry wrote to President Joe Biden in response to this development, arguing that the US should "reject any democratic credentials" presented by Khan in view of his background as an "integral terrorist sympathiser" who is trying to undermine American interests in the region and the "security of our Indian allies".

Perry wrote in a letter on January 27 that the nomination of Khan by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan “can only be described as a breathtaking lack of judgement at best, and a demonstration of Islamabad’s unmitigated contempt for the United States at worst”.

Khan praised terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations, such as Hizbul Mujahideen, Perry stated and encouraged young men to emulate jihadists like Burhan Wani, a former commander of Hizbul Mujahideen who was dedicated to jihad against India.

Furthermore, he also wrote that Khan "lashed out" at the US in 2017 for sanctioning Hizbul Mujahideen's leader, and in 2019 he appeared publicly alongside Harkat-ul-Mujahideen's founder, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, a specially designated global terrorist.

Khalil was said to have had close ties to al-Qaeda and its slain founder, Osama bin Laden, according to the US treasury department.

Watch | Pakistan PM Imran Khan to visit China from Feb 3-5 amid growing economic crisis

In the letter, Perry further explained how the Ambassador-designate is a supporter of the terrorist groups Jamaat-e-Islami, as well as Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a group that had no qualms establishing a partnership with the foreign terrorist organization responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people.

As encouraging as it is that the State Department has reportedly taken a pause on the approval of Masood Khan, a pause is not enough, wrote Perry. 

"I urge you to reject any diplomatic credentials presented to you by Masood Khan and reject any effort by the Government of Pakistan to install this jihadist as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States,” he added.

(With inputs for agencies)