WASHINGTON: The United States of America has reacted to the ongoing tense situation in Pakistan where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters have all but laid siege to Islamabad and has suggested that all parties should have the freedom to express disagreements but must do so peacefully.
Asked during his daily press briefing about the protests and attack on Imran Khan, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price initially reiterated the statement issued last week by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
“We strongly condemn the shooting,” he said, adding, “We continue to strongly condemn the shooting of Imran Khan.” He expressed Washington’s hope for a quick and thorough recovery of all who were injured, including Imran Khan.
Price also offered condolences to the family of the individual who was killed. “Violence has no place in politics. We’re concerned about these reports of violence,” he said and called on all parties to refrain from violence, harassment, intimidation and to respect the rule of law.
“We are deeply committed to a democratic and peaceful Pakistan, and we stand with the people of Pakistan.”
Asked if he had a message of calm to offer, Price said they remain concerned about what happened in Pakistan in recent days and that all parties should never resort to violence.
“They should express their disagreements peacefully, using – employing universal rights – freedom of expression, freedom of assembly – but violence is never the answer.”
He continued that they are deeply committed to Pakistan, which has a long history of democratic identity. We stand with the people of Pakistan.
On the reported curbs on freedom of expression in Pakistan, Price responded by saying Washington routinely raises concerns about press freedom to all stakeholders around the world.
“We do that as a matter of course in Pakistan. We’ll continue to have those conversations with Pakistani authorities,” he said.
“A free press, informed citizenry – they’re key for any nation and its democratic future. It’s key in Pakistan; it’s key around the world,” he added.