US refuses to get involved in Imran’s ‘blame game’

Published February 17, 2023
In this file photo, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, February 8, 2021. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, February 8, 2021. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: The Uni­­ted States has once again refused to get involved in former prime minister Imran Khan’s ‘blame game’ about Washington’s alleged role in his ouster.

Days before his April 10, 2022 ouster, Mr Khan claimed that the Biden administration had orchestrated his ouster and presented a diplomatic cable to prove the allegation. But in an interview to VoA broadcasting service earlier this week, he absolved America, saying it was former army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa who planned and executed his ouster.

Asked to comment on Mr Khan’s new position, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “I’m just not going to comment on the evolution of the blame game, as you say. We have spoken clearly about this ever since these erroneous allegations surfaced. We’ve consistently said there is no truth to these allegations.”

Addressing the issue at a Wednesday afternoon news briefing in Washing­ton, Mr Price said the United States valued its longstanding cooperation with Pakistan and had always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to its interests. “That very much remains unchanged.”

Whether the blame game had come to an end or not, “we don’t let propaganda, misinformation, disinformation get in the way of any bilateral relationship”, the US official said. “And that of course includes our valued bilateral relationship with Pakistan.”

Mr Price said the United States never took a position on Pakistan’s domestic politics. “When it comes to various political players inside of Pakistan, we don’t have a position on one political candidate or party versus another,” he explained.

“We support, as we do around the world, the peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional, and legal principles.”

Responding to a question about the US-Pakistan defence dialogue being held in Washington, Mr Price said he was not in a position to “share publicly beyond the fact that Pakistan is a valued partner” of the United States.

“It’s valued across many realms. Of course we have a security relationship that is important to us knowing that many of the threats Pakistan faces could well in turn be threats to us,” the US official said.

“And so we value the work we do together, but I’m just not in a position to offer anything beyond that,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2023

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