WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Andleeb Abbas, one of Pakistan's most prominent women in the movement for political reform and democratization, will make an official visit to the United States from January 15-31, 2017. The Washington/New York/Boston portion of her itinerary will include meetings with the incoming administration, leading Democratic and Republican elected officials and key staffers, civil society leaders, student groups, and internationally-focused policy centers.
Ms. Abbas, a core committee member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), advises Chairman Imran Khan on major issues including employment, education, and women's empowerment. She has also served as PTI's Communications Director for Punjab, and has been a key member of the movement against corruption that PTI has initiated against the ruling government.
Recent revelations from the Panama Papers have identified Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's current prime minister, as being among the 12 leaders of the world who have hidden assets in offshore companies in Panama; Sharif has refused accountability despite compelling evidence of his corruption. After a protracted battle in the parliament and the media, PTI decided to launch a peaceful protest in the capital city of Islamabad on November 2, 2016.
On November 1, en route to a meeting with Khan at his Islamabad home, Ms. Abbas was arrested and detained without charge by the police, who assaulted and aimed rifle fire at her despite the presence of video cameras. The ordeal has deepened her commitment to exposing the corruption of the current regime and to advocating for respect for human rights under Pakistan's constitution. She says: "If the government is willing to fire bullets at a well-known public figure like me—with cameras rolling—it says a great deal about what they are willing to do to the many powerless people who try to oppose their abuses."
Ms. Abbas' United States tour will include a press conference where that video footage will be screened:
January 24, 2017
National Press Club
529 Fourteenth Street NW
Washington, DC 20045
She will be calling for greater attention on the part of US and other Western nations to the diversion of millions of dollars of foreign aid flows to Pakistan. "Aid must be conditioned upon serious democratic reforms and respect for human rights," Ms. Abbas said. "The citizens of the United States and their elected officials need to understand the true nature of the regime their taxpayer money is perpetuating—and also understand that they have true democratic partners with whom they can work in my country."
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SOURCE Birkdale Media LLC