Ambassador Jilani urges Pakistani Americans to actively participate in US elections


Pakistani Americans have an important role to play in the upcoming US presidential elections and could use the community’s leverage in their favour if and united and organised, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani said.

At the annual Convention of Pakistani-Americans community being held at Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington, Ambassador Jilani stated that CPAC has now an established platform and can take concrete actions for the tangible outcome.

A large number of Pakistani-Americans from various states attended the convention, which discussed the current state of US-Pakistan relations, economic opportunities in Pakistan for overseas Pakistanis, and the need for the community to act in unison for mutual benefit.

Referring to the upcoming US elections, the Ambassador said that the role of Pakistani-American community at this political juncture is very important. “Regardless of your numbers in the overall electoral calculus, most of you could use the community’s leverage in your favour if you are united and organised.”

“One of the most important steps you could take is to mobilise political support from within the community, write letters, emails, and messages to your political representatives and connect with them,” he said and urged the community use their communication in emphasising true perspective of Pakistan.

In the face of given challenges, the Ambassador urged the community to encourage the young generation of Pakistani Americans to join government jobs which, he said, may be less attractive from economic viewpoint initially, but would go a long way in securing their rights through a clout that cannot be bought through financial means alone.

The ambassador said that perceptional challenges faced by the Pakistani American community may aggravate “should the winds of political change start blowing from a certain political quarter in the coming elections.” He said it was, therefore, imperative for the community to get united and have a voice that could reach the power echelons.

Referring to recent terrorist attacks in various US states, he said these attacks brought the community under the spotlight and needs to be seen seriously. A common strategy needs to be devised by the community itself to safeguard its interests in such dire situations in future, he added,

Apprising the community of the recent state of relations between Pakistan and the US, Ambassador Jilani said that it is longstanding and has stood the test of times. He expressed the confidence that despite challenges in the relationship, “the institutional framework for cooperation remains intact. Both our countries believe that persistence of challenges calls for greater need to remain engaged for our mutual interest.”

He said it was reassuring that despite some differences, both sides remain committed to enhancing their convergences. He said Pakistan and the US have common stakes in the regional and international peace, nuclear security and non-proliferation, combating international terrorism and socio-economic development.

Pakistan is fully committed to continuing our strategic relationship with the United States, he added.

The Ambassador said that the democratic government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in its fourth year and political forces in the country remain committed to the further consolidation of democracy.

“Turning around the economy, overcoming the energy crisis, combating extremism and terrorism and investing in education have been the key priorities of the Government since day one,” he added.

On ties with India, the Ambassador expressed his disappointment that Pakistan’s peace initiatives have been seen as a sign of weakness by India. “We want to again emphasise that Pakistan seeks peace but we will not be intimidated. We want peace with honour and dignity.”

Read more: Trump assails Bill Clinton, vows to jail Hillary Clinton if he wins White House