Ro: The Progressive Who Remains Silent

Ro Khanna has projected himself as the leader of the Progressive faction of the Democratic Party. He also joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus in 2019, after meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. While joining the Caucus he expressed interest to tackle terrorism, and protect women’s rights and human rights.

What has shocked us is his complete silence on the rampant systemic and institutionalized abuse of religious and ethenic minorities in Pakistan, especially the women. And this silence continued even after 230 organizations hand-delivered a letter to him to consider his stance.

In this post we will give examples of the kind of persecution Ro Khanna turns a blind eye too. Most of these events occurred in 2020; they are representative of continuous institutionalized persecution and abuse. Please click on the pictures to open the link to the news story. 

Note that some of the stories contain material which you may find disturbing. We have included screenshots of the headlines, if you do not want to read the detailed story.

Forcible Marriage of non-Muslim Women

Court approves the conversion and marriage of 13-year-old Christian girl Arzoo Raja. 

The High Court also ordered that no arrests take place. The girl had been kidnapped, converted to Islam and married to a 44-year-old man, Ali Azhar. The Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan also denounces the "many other incidents of this type that are not reported". Forced conversions have become the major tool of persecution against Christians and Hindus.

This is not uncommon in Pakistan. A report published in 2018, estimated that every year, about a 1000 non-Muslim women are converted against their will and married off to Muslim men.

The report states the estimates of the incidence of forced marriage and conversion from 100 to 700 victim Christian girls and 300 Hindu girls per year, adding that the true scale of the problem is likely to be much greater, as a number of cases are never reported or do not progress through the law-enforcement and legal systems.

Another good article on the topic is here.

Islamabad Hindu Temple

Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. Efforts to build the first Hindu temple there were stalled by religious extremists.

The fever pitch around the temple finally erupted on Sunday when a group of men destroyed the partially constructed wall around the temple’s land, claiming it was their Islamic duty to do so. They gleefully filmed their exploits and posted it on social media. None of the vandals have been arrested.

And the destruction continues in Karachi, Pakistan's Commercial Capital.

1700 year old Buddha Statue Destroyed

A 1700 year old Buddha statue discovered during construction was destroyed by sledgehammers (video).

Persecution of Shia Muslims

The anti-minority stance is not just limited to non-Muslims. The minority Shia Muslims face increased violence; the Ahmedi sect of Muslims have been declared as non-Muslims and are prosecuted simply for calling themselves Muslims.

Blasphemy Laws

Blasphemy laws are used as a weapon against minorities; even Shia Muslims are not spared.

Pakistan's Support to Global Terrorism

Pakistan has played a dubious role in providing shelter to and nurturing the Taliban who fought a long war with US assisted Afghan forces since 9/11. Pakistan also sheltered Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 attacks.

Almost two decades later, Pakistan continues to be a major hub for global terrorism.Pakistan continues to be under intense scrutiny for her continuous sponsorship of global terror; the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, has placed Pakistan in its gray list; there is a high chance of her being elevated to the black-list in the coming reviews.

Pakistani expats have been linked to terrorism around the globe including an attack in September near Charlie Hebdo's former Paris office. The attacker's father claimed that he was proud of his son.

Ro Khanna's Silence

Even though Ro Khanna joined the Pakistan caucus to tackle terrorism, and protect women’s rights and human rights, he has been conspicuously silence about all the women's rights and human rights abuse that happens in Pakistan. And this was after 230 different organizations had written to him to reconsider his position.

He chose to stay quiet even when Pakistan's Prime Minister eulogized Osama bin Laden as a Martyr while speaking in Pakistan's Federal Legislative House (equivalent to the Presidential Address to US Congress).

A man is known by the company they keep; and Ro's unwillingness to be critical of Pakistan speaks volume about how easily he is willing to compromise on his stated positions and stances for his own expedient political interests; something his U-Turn on race based discrimination also illustrated.

As residents of CA-17, one of the most dynamic and diverse place across the entire globe, we deserve a leader who is willing to stand up of victims of persecution, and not caucus for those who have one of the worst records in the entire world.

Please vote #RoKhanna out. We deserve better.

#HoHoHoRoMustGo #RoMustGo

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