Washington: More than 50,000 new signatures have been added to the final count of the White House petition seeking to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, making it the most popular US petition ever.
The petition, “We the people ask the administration to declare Pakistan, State Sponsor of Terrorism (HR 6069)”, was archived by the White House on Monday with 613,830 signatures.
By yesterday afternoon, the number of signatures on the petition had increased to 665,769, a jump of 51,939 signs.
This is believed to be the most popular White House petition so far as the highest number of signatures received by any White House petition so far had not crossed 350,000.
There has been no explanation from the White House so far. However, it is possible that these signatures, which were signed before the petition was closed by the White House, were added to the final tally after being duly verified. In that case, the chances of a fraud being committed appears unlikely.
Another possibility could be that the petition was flooded with signatures. And since the petition had already reached the mandatory threshold of 100,000 to earn a response from the Obama administration, a decision could have been taken to archive it and stop accepting any new signature.
The White House is expected to have an official response to the petition within stipulated 60 days.
Meanwhile, the White House is still looking for signatures that did not meet the criteria for the petition which was created on September 21 by someone who identified himself with initials RG, after Congressman Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher introduced a bill in the US House of Representative, seeking to designate Pakistan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
It met the threshold of 100,000 signatures in less than a week. With various groups both inside and outside the US actively campaigning on the social media for people to support the petition, the signature count increased at a fast pace, sometimes more than 100,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
In the process, it became the first-ever petition to cross half a million mark. A day after it was closed for signature, the final count as of now stands at 665,769 signatures.
While there is no official ranking of popular petitions, the one seeking “charges against the 47 US Senators in violation of the Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement” in April 2015 appears to be the second most popular petition with 320,000 signatures.
According to a website – WHpetitions.info – that keeps track of unanswered petitions, so far 323 White House petitions have met their signature thresholds.
The White House has responded to 318 of them (98 per cent) with an average response time of 117 days. Average waiting time so far for five unanswered petitions is 36 days. This does not include the latest petition.
Baloch-Americans have also launched their own petition on “Free Balochistan from Pakistan’s illegal occupation”.