WASHINGTON: The US Dep­artment of State has once again stressed the need to uphold civil liberties in Pakistan while advising against the use of violence to advance political causes.

At a Monday afternoon news briefing, department’s spokes­person Matthew Miller emphasised the shared interests of Pakistan and the United States in addressing regional security threats, particularly those posed by terrorist groups operating in the region.

“We support legitimate free expression, including the right to protest, the right to peaceful assembly, and we oppose violent actions, vandalism, looting, and arson,” said the US official in response to a question about the May 9 incidents in Pakistan.

Miller’s statement underscores Washington’s commitment to human rights and democratic principles while reflecting its desire to avoid entanglement in domestic Pakistani politics.

By insisting that “all protests should be conducted peacefully”, Miller highlighted the impor­tance of balancing fundamental freedoms with the need to maintain a working relationship with the Pakistani establishment.

Responding to a question about cross-border terrorist attacks into Pakistan, Miller highlighted the significant suffering endured by the Pakistani people due to terrorism.

“We partner with a range of Pakistani civilian institutions and regularly engage with the government of Pakistan to identify opportunities to build capacity and strengthen regional security, including in our annual high-level counterterrorism dialogue,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2024

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