Indo-Pak tensions reach White House as counter petitions filed
The White House has stopped accepting signatures for one of the petitions that sought to designate Pakistan as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’, days after it gained a record half a million signatures which is five times the number needed to get a response from the Obama Administration.
Another petition claiming that India is “involved in spreading terrorism in its adjoining countries” has been submitted on the White House website.
The petition, filed against Pakistan, has been archived as it did not meet the “signature requirements”, the White House said on Monday.
“Closed petition,” said the petition page. “This petition has been archived because it did not meet the signature requirements. It can no longer be signed,” the White House said.
No further explanation has been given by the White House on closing the petition for signature. Normally, it is open for a month for the people to sign.
However, it looks like that some of the signatures might not have met the terms of participation for these petitions.
As a result, it is very well possible that some of these signatures could be removed if there is evidence of fraud.
But the White House is expected to have an official response to the petition within the 60 days’ deadline.
The petition was created on September 21 by a person who identified himself by initials RG and the petition needed 1,00,000 signatures in 30 days to get a response from the White House.
The benchmark was reached in less than a week, and in less than two weeks, the petition crossed half a million signatures.
The petition 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.
Pakistani-Americans are now campaigning for a signature campaign to support the anti-India petition on the White House website. “India is involved in spreading terrorism and in bloody proxy wars against its adjoining countries, particularly Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the petition alleged.
The petition, which was created in September by an individual who identified himself with initials SS, has received nearly 64,000 signatures. It needs another 36,000 signatures to become eligible for getting a response from the Obama Administration.
India, Pak military dialogue vital to reduce tensions: US
The US has called for “calm and restraint” from India and Pakistan amid increasingly strained relations between the two neighbours and urged both militaries to keep their lines of communication open to help defuse tensions in the region.
“We urge calm and restraint on both sides. We understand, as we said last week, that the militaries are in touch. We believe that that continued communication is vital to reduce these tensions,” State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters on Monday.
Trudeau, however, refused to respond to questions on India’s surgical strike across the Line of
Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last week. “I’m not going to speak to any reports of these incidents.”
Trudeau said the US is emphasising on regional stability and security in its dialogues with Indian and Pakistani leaders.
“I think what you would take a look at being discussed is regional stability and regional security. One of the things I think we all need to focus on is conflicts or issues or rising tension are not contained to any specific region,” she said.
“We are in favor of any reduction of tensions that both sides agree to in this particular instance. We have strong ties with both Pakistan and India, and we’ll engage on that basis,” Trudeau added.
She said the United States of America’s position on Kashmir has not changed.
“I would say that our position on Kashmir has not changed, and I would remind you that we are having conversations with both countries on the importance of reducing the tensions in the region,” she said.