US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel issues explanation on Zalmay Khalilzad's statements in support of Imran Khan
The United States has issued a clarification on the statements of former US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad regarding the political situation in Pakistan.
In recent days, former American diplomat Khalilzad had supported Imran Khan's position in successive statements and had said that the elections in Pakistan should be held soon. Khalilzad's remarks had also been condemned by the Pakistani Foreign Office.
Khalilzad, while issuing a statement on the political situation in Pakistan, had said that Pakistan is facing three crises, which are political, economic and security related.
"Mr Khalilzad is a private citizen, and any social media activity or comments or tweets that you might reference, those are done in his private capacity," US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel clarified on Monday during a press briefing.
Patel said that Khalilzad's statements do not represent US foreign policy, and that he [Khalilzad] does not speak for the Biden administration.
The former US diplomat had warned that Pakistan’s international support will “decline further” and political polarisation and violence will “likely increase” if Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and the PTI were attacked.
“I hope the Pakistani political leaders rise above destructive petty politics that undermine the national interest. If not, I hope the Supreme Court says no to being used in games that undermine the nation's interests. I am becoming increasingly concerned about Pakistan,” he had said.
The Foreign Office had reacted strongly to Khalilzad’s “lectures” and had told him that his feedback was not needed.
“Pakistan does not need lectures or unsolicited advice from anyone on how to cope with the challenges we face today. As a resilient nation, we will come out stronger from the present difficult situation.”
"It is time for serious soul-searching, bold thinking, and strategizing," Khalilzad had written on Twitter. “The sequential cannibalising of its leaders through jailing, execution, assassination, etc., is the wrong path. Arresting Imran Khan will only deepen the crisis," he had added.
Meanwhile, on being asked his opinion over the current political chaos in Pakistan, Patel responded that any implication of violence, harassment, or intimidation has no place in politics.
"As we do with our partners all around the world, we encourage all sides in Pakistan to respect the rule of law and allow the people of Pakistan to democratically determine their own country’s leadership pursuant to their own constitution and laws," Patel commented.