WASHINGTON: The US administration has said that it engages directly with its Pakistani partners on issues of regional and security importance, once again refusing to publicly comment on the current political situation in Pakistan.

The statement, made at a US State Department news briefing on Monday afternoon, indicates that a PTI-led campaign to win favours has had little impact on the administration, although it has won them sympathisers in Congress.

“We engage directly with our Pakistani partners on the issues that are of importance to the United States and are of importance to broader regional security and stability,” said State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel while responding to a question about Pakistan.

The US official, however, focused on the broader issue of regional security and stability and offered no comments on Pakistan’s domestic politics. “And as I have said before, we of course want to see a prosperous and stable Pakistan because it’s in the interest of US-Pakistan relations.”

State Dept seeks access to detained fashion designer

Mr Patel said the United States often engages with Pakistan directly, but not every engagement is discussed publicly.

Khadija Shah

The United States called on Tuesday on Pakistan to grant consular access to Khadija Shah, a prominent fashion designer with dual citizenship who was detained after the violence on May 9, AFP adds.

The State Department said its diplomats have not had access to Shah, the founder of the luxury fashion brand Elan.

“We have asked Pakistani officials for consular access to her,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

He indicated that more US citizens had been arrested.

“Whenever a US citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate assistance and we expect Pakistani authorities to respect all fair-trial guarantees owed to these detainees,” Patel said.

Shah’s family said that she took part “non-violently” in protests on May 9. She voluntarily showed up to an investigation only to be arrested, the family said.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2023

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