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Pakistan reiterates ‘concern’ over JASTA, says it targets sovereignty

Pakistan: ‘We have noted with concern the overturning of the US Presidential veto on JASTA, a law passed by US Congress aimed at targeting sovereign states’

Published: Updated:

Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Thursday has reiterated its “concern” following the overriding of US President Barack Obama veto on the Justice against the sponsors of terrorism act (JASTA) law passed by the Congress.

“We have noted with concern the overturning of the US Presidential veto on JASTA, a law passed by US Congress aimed at targeting sovereign states,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

It added: “Many countries across Europe and in the Middle East have also expressed similar concern over JASTA. Pakistan had earlier also expressed anguish over the adoption of a domestic legislation with extra-territorial application.”

Many states, including US officials and the EU, have criticized JASTA and warned that the potential bill threatens sovereign immunity, an important principle in international law.

Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey was the latest in slamming the Congress overturning Obama’s veto.

“We have had investigations by our intelligence agencies, by Congress, and by the 9/11 Commission. They found no evidence of Saudi government involvement or the involvement of any senior Saudi officials. And so, there is no reason for this (bill),” he said.

If passed, JASTA would allow US citizens to sue Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Fifteen out of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Riyadh has always dismissed suspicions that it backed the attackers, who killed nearly 3,000 people under the banner of militant group al-Qaeda.

Riyadh is one of Washington’s longest-standing and most important allies in the Middle East and part of a US-led coalition fighting ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria

Observers also consider JASTA as hurtful to the United States as it will open the door for other citizens such as Iraqis and Afghans who could file legal cases against Washington to seek compensation, following US military interventions in the two countries.