ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday sought the United States support on the Kashmir issue and India’s discriminatory policies against the minorities, particularly Muslims.

During separate meetings with influential US Senator Lindsey Graham here, Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa invited Washington’s attention towards the Kashmir issue and the Indian defiant attitude. The top civil and military leaders acknowledged the US Senator’s role for improving Pak-US ties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that broad-based and enduring partnership between Pakistan and the US was important for peace, prosperity and development in the region, said a foreign ministry statement. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was also present during the meeting.

Senator Graham later called on Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi and discussed regional security situation including Afghan reconciliation process. “The US Senator acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts towards regional peace and stability,” said a military statement.

Senator Graham is Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and senior member of the Armed Services, Appropriations and Budget Committees of the US Senate. This is his second visit to Pakistan this year.

The Prime Minister urged Senator Graham to continue to play his role in the transformation of the relationship, particularly through deepening and intensifying bilateral economic cooperation.

PM Khan apprised Senator Graham of the continuing Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He also drew the Senator’s attention towards the Indian Government’s discriminatory policies against minorities. He urged for continued US focus to prevent further deterioration of peace and stability in the region.

While emphasizing the value of peace and stability in Afghanistan for Pakistan’s development, Imran Khan said that Pakistan would continue to play its facilitating role in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.

Senator Graham appreciated Prime Minister Khan for Pakistan’s consistent support in the Afghan peace process. He reiterated his desire for a broader bilateral relationship with particular focus on economic cooperation, enhanced market access and increased investments.

He acknowledged Pakistan’s achievements in mainstreaming the tribal areas through development work. He also commended Pakistan on border fencing initiative.

Last week, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal had said Pakistan was ‘surprised’ that the US Department of the Treasury had failed to issue any sanctions against Indian security forces for their ongoing human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Given the scope of the Global Magnitsky Act, we are surprised that the Treasury Department failed to hold anyone responsible for the most egregious, extensively reported and independently verified human rights violations and abuses being perpetrated in India-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by Indian security forces,” he said.

Faisal also rejected India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was approved by Parliament this month, echoing an earlier statement by Prime Minister Imran Khan that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was damaging its own state in pursuit of its Hindutva ideology. He said the legislation was a violation of human rights and would pose a serious security threat for minorities in India.

In January, the Republican Senator had said that he will urge President Donald Trump to meet with the leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan so that they can devise a plan to end Afghanistan’s 17-year war, the US’s longest military engagement. “I think they will hit it off if they meet as they have similar personalities,” Graham had said.

PM Khan and President Trump have since met twice and Pakistan had helped the US engage in talks with the Afghan Taliban for a peaceful solution to the Afghan issue.

Pakistan has also sought US’ help on tension with India after New Delhi illegally merged occupied Kashmir into its territory and threatened to attack Pakistan. The recent legislation in which Muslims were discriminated raised the tension further.