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Pakistan concerned at overturning of US presidential veto on 9/11 lawsuits bill

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday expressed concern at the overturning of the Unites States Presidential veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

The legislation allows the families of Sept 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for alleged backing of the attackers.

“Many countries across Europe and in the Middle East have expressed similar concerns over JASTA,” the Foreign Office said.

Pakistan had earlier also expressed anguish over the adoption of domestic legislation with extra-territorial application, recalled the FO statement.

“In his address to the 71st United Nations General Assembly Session, the prime minister had underscored that terrorism is a global phenomenon, which must be addressed comprehensively in all its forms, and that the international community must coordinate its efforts to accomplish this,” the FO said.

The prime minister had emphasised that these efforts should be taken collectively and not unilaterally through the passage of any laws with extra-territorial application targeting certain countries, it added.

The US Senate had passed legislation in May this year that allowed victims of the Sept 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages from Saudi Arabia.

The legislation was made months after the US Congress released 28 declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 that revived speculation that some of the hijackers had ties to Saudi government officials. However, Saudi officials had rejected the report and denied any such links.

In a backlash to the legislation, the Saudi government threatened to sell up to $750 billion in US securities and other American assets.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also strictly criticised the legislation. Terming the law against the principles of international law, the UAE had viewed that the legislation implicates dangerous precedent for foreign relations.

Subsequently, citing the provision will hurt its ties with the Arab kingdom, President Obama took a pre-announced measure to veto the bill. In retaliation, in the end of September, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to override the veto.

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