Pakistani-American political group lobbying U.S. lawmakers for a Pakistan flood-aid package

WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (APP): American lawmakers are awaiting flood-hit Pakistan’s post-disaster needs assessment to develop a US assistance package for inclusion in the Congressional stopgap funding bill that is expected to be passed by mid-December, the head of a prominent Pakistan-American political group has said.

Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, chairman of the American-Pakistan Public Affairs Committee (APPAC), who, along with some of the committee members, met key US lawmakers at Capitol Hill earlier this week, told reporters that they had requested a $600 million immediate assistance package to aid relief and recovery as the flood-affected people now face harsh winter conditions.

In this regard, he said that APPAC was working with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The APPAC has also hired a lobbying firm, Hogan, to build up support for the U.S. relief package with legislators of both the Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, it was pointed out.

Dr. Ijaz Ahmad and members of the Committee met with Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee and also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a Ranking Member of the Budget Committee.

Both the senators expressed support for the move to aid Pakistan’s flood-relief work, he said.

Additionally, the APPAC members also met with Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey, who pledged to work with the Biden Administration to back the proposed Congressional move. The APPAC members also discussed the effort with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, who along with Somali-American Ilhan Omar, are the first Muslims elected to the House.

The APPAC members had also met with President Joe Biden in New York in September, during the UN General Assembly session, and drew his attention to the need for supporting Pakistan’s massive challenge to deal with the unprecedented climate-induced floods.

Dr. Ijaz Ahmad appealed to Pakistani Americans to reach out to the elected U.S. lawmakers in their areas to secure their support for the proposed Congressional initiative.

According to Congressional sources, the aid request from Pakistan must come by the end of next week, as in January the House would come under the control of the Republicans and the priorities might change.