Saturday, June 03, 2023
WASHINGTON: Former prime minister Imran Khan's close aide Shahbaz Gill — who is currently in the US — has registered himself as a foreign agent of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the country.
Gill registered himself as the party’s foreign agent under the US Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) and was issued a registration number by the US Department of Justice.
The former premier's special assistant is facing sedition charges and was allowed to travel abroad by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on March 29 for one month but he later filed a new plea seeking an extension in his stay in the US.
In his documents submitted on May 11, Gill apprised the US authorities about nine meetings he held with American citizens for PTI between April 19 and May 9 this year.
In all these meetings, he wrote, “the current violation of human rights in Pakistan” was discussed with US citizens.
The registration documents also include Gill's written statement describing the nature and method of his intentions in the US as an agent.
“It is completely on honorary basis. No financial charges are involved. I believe in PTI's vision,” he wrote.
He further added: “Being their [PTI’s] political supporter, I try to promote their political struggle for the democracy and rule of law and make people/officials in the United States of America aware of the political struggle of the people of Pakistan and PTI.”
In his statement, Gill also wrote that along with meeting people and attending protests, he intended to try to hold meetings with government officials including congressional representatives and senators, and any other relevant officials such as from the State Department or Department of Justice.
“I have plans to meet with the general public and Pakistani Americans, as well as with officials to discuss the current political crisis in Pakistan. Matters of violation of human rights and violation of freedom of speech will be discussed,” his statement read.
It further added: “For this purpose, I will be attending some public meetings, protests, organised by Pakistani Americans. I will also try to meet government officials including congressional representatives and senators, and any other relevant officials such as from the State Department or Department of Justice, to enhance the understanding of governance in Pakistan and violation of its democratic values.”