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Washington, D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul delivered remarks at a hearing to examine the future of democracy in Pakistan and the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. During his remarks, Chairman McCaul highlighted Pakistan’s importance as a regional partner in efforts such as combatting terrorism and emphasized the importance of democracy and human rights in Pakistan.




– Remarks as delivered –


Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member. I agree with you that there is a tremendous amount of interest in this hearing. I think that I have never had so many members on the House Floor come to me and say that we need to have a hearing on Pakistan after the election. I know the diasporas is out across the United States have shown a lot of great interest and have voiced that to their Members of Congress.

I also thank Assistant Secretary Lu for testifying here today. I’ve always thought that Pakistan is a very important country. I’ve been there many times. It’s a beautiful country, but it’s often fraught with problems related to terrorism and other matters.

And today, they are facing many challenges just the same. They just installed a new government after a controversial election. Currently, Pakistan is experiencing a massive economic crisis including record inflation and an overwhelming foreign debt.

Pakistan’s domestic situation has a ripple effect throughout the region. It is critical the United States works to promote economic prosperity and domestic stability within Pakistan.

I think that the people of Pakistan deserve a country where democracy and rule of law are protected at the highest levels.

The voters have displayed their commitment to participating in the process.

Despite allegations of fraud and interference in the recent election, the people of Pakistan showed up to vote in unprecedented numbers, which is very positive.

However, I was deeply concerned by well-documented instances of interference in the February elections including: A terrorist attack at a candidate’s political offices, hours before the polls opened; and also, major internet and cell service shut offs on election day.

These events are serious and consequential.

I have called for a full investigation into any allegations of interference or corruption in their recent elections. And I will be watching closely to see how these irregularities are being addressed.

Additionally, human rights in Pakistan must be respected for democracy to thrive.

A failure to recognize basic human rights will unquestionably lead to a downward spiral.

If human rights are ignored, the prospect of a democratic society will evaporate.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s security is at risk, as the [Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan] and other terrorist groups have become increasingly emboldened. This is a direct result of the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. We had a hearing just yesterday with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Milley, and [United States Central Command] Commander, General McKenzie.

That deadly and chaotic withdrawal projected weakness on the world stage, and we see from history that weakness always invites aggression.

Our adversaries are now testing our resolve. When they see weakness, they do exploit it.

Pakistan has played an essential role in mitigating the effects of the administration’s withdrawal on regional security.

It remains vitally important that the United States and Pakistan continue to work together to counter terrorism.

While challenges remain ahead, the United States and Pakistan must continue to work together to promote regional stability.

We also know that if the United States pulls away from our relationship with Pakistan, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will gain even more influence.

While we seek to help nations thrive, the CCP is only interested in a one-way relationship of debt-trap diplomacy.
And Pakistan is the CCP’s ground zero for China’s Belt-and-Road [Initiative].

I look forward to working with my colleagues. It’s in our best interest to have a vibrant and healthy Pakistan – one of democracy, economic prosperity, and stability.

And I think working together, we can work to make Pakistan a success in its role as a key regional security partner. And so that, again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. I know there’s immense interest in this across the nation, and of course in Pakistan itself, and with that I yield back.