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Thursday June 08, 2023

Khalilzad’s statements do not represent US foreign policy: State Deptt

By Our Correspondent
March 29, 2023

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The United States has clarified that the comments of former US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, on the state of Pakistani politics do not reflect US foreign policy and he (Khalizad) does not speak for President Joe Biden’s administration.

“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, does not represent US foreign policy,” said State Department’s spokesperson Vedant Patel while speaking during a news briefing on Monday.

Patel’s remarks came while responding to a question about whether the former US envoy’s statements expressed the sentiments of the US government.

In recent days, Khalilzad has been speaking about the political situation in Pakistan and former prime minister Imran Khan. Earlier, the former US envoy had tweeted that arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman would “deepen” the crisis, calling for serious “soul-searching and bold thinking”. He had also said that the “sequential cannibalising” of political leaders through jailing, execution, and assassination was the wrong path.

Urging the Pakistani government to take necessary steps to prevent the country from a meltdown, Khalilzad had said that a date should be decided for the national elections in early June. His statements prompted the Foreign Office to advise him to refrain from offering advice on Pakistan’s domestic issues.

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch had snubbed Khalilzad for tweeting unwanted advice on how to steer Pakistan’s politics out of its chaotic spiral — while laying bare his obvious lean towards Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its policies. “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,” the FO spokesperson had said.

Responding to another question about the current chaotic situation in the country and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s threats to Khan, Patel said: “Any implication of violence, harassment, or intimidation has no place in politics, and 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. “And specifically, for any reaction to the comments, you would have to go to Sanaullah, that’s not for me to speak to,” he added.