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US expresses concern about safety of incarcerated Imran Khan

State Department says US Ambassador Blome discussed economic reforms, security, human rights with PIT leaders: Washington supports Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Pakistan

By News Desk

May 8, 2024 09:56 AM


US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller

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The United States has highlighted the importance of ensuring safety and security of all prisoners in Pakistan, including former prime minister Imran Khan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday.

Speaking at his daily news briefing in Washington on Tuesday, State Department Spoke­sperson Matthew Miller confirmed a meeting between US Ambassador Donald Blome and leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), including opposition leader Omar Ayub Khan in Islamabad.

Miller said Ambassador Blome met the leader of the opposition, and other senior members of the opposition to discuss a broader range of issues important to the bilateral relationship, including continuing US economic support to Islamabad.

About discussions with PTI on rights and ‘fabricated’ charges against Imran Khan, Miller reiterated the US stance on political neutrality. “Our position is the same as we have stated previously, which is we take no position on elections in Pakistan,” he said. He emphasised the importance of upholding basic human rights while maintaining impartiality towards political parties.

Miller addressed reports of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s reported warning to Pakistan regarding the safety of Imran Khan, affirming the US commitment to human rights. He said Senator Schumer might have coordinated with the State Department while telling the Pakistani ambassador that Imran Khan’s safety was a high priority in Washington but he (Miller) was not aware of that conversation.

Miller further said “But obviously, we want to see safety and security of every prisoner in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world.” He added “It’s something that every person, every detainee, every prisoner is entitled to basic human rights and protection under the law.”

Following are excerpts of Matthew Miller’s remarks about Pakistan:

QUESTION: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently met with the Pakistan ambassador, and he relayed to the ambassador that Imran Khan’s safety in prison was a high priority of the United States. Did he coordinate that conversation with the State Department? Does the State Department share that view that his safety in prison is a high priority of the U.S.?

MR MILLER: So I’m not aware of any coordination. It may have happened; may have been conversations between this building and Senator Schumer, his staff, and I’m just not aware of them. It’s certainly possible. But obviously, we want to see the safety and security of every prisoner in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world – something that every person, every detainee, every prisoner, is entitled to basic human rights and protection under the law.

QUESTION: Follow-up, please.

MR MILLER: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. US ambassador in Pakistan Don Blome met with the current leadership of Imran Khan’s party, and after that meeting there were, like, dozens of stories circulating in Pakistani media. Could you just tell us something about that, as that meeting was arranged under guest of U.S. Ambassador Don Blome?

MR MILLER: Dozens of stories circulating about a meeting with our ambassador?

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Different stories.

MR MILLER: What a new thing. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Different stories. Every single —

MR MILLER: I haven’t got a Donald Blome question in a while.

Yes, US Ambassador Donald Blome met with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Omar Ayub Khan, and other senior members of the opposition to discuss a broad range of issues important to the bilateral relationship. This includes US support for continued economic reforms, human rights, and regional security.

QUESTION: Sir, after that meeting, the leadership of PTI, Imran Khan’s party, told media that they have expressed their concerns about human rights violations, fabricated cases against Imran Khan, freedom of speech, and others. What is your position on these issues, sir?

MR MILLER: So we have addressed this any number of times, and our position is the same as we have stated it previously, which is we take no position on elections in Pakistan, we take no position with respect to any particular political party, and of course, we want to see basic human rights upheld, as I said in my answer to Ryan’s question.

QUESTION: So one last question.

MR MILLER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Saudi Crown Prince MBS is visiting Pakistan in new few days. Recently, Iranian president was in Pakistan too. So how you see these trips when there is too much tension in the region?

MR MILLER: So certainly, we always support diplomatic engagement between our partners. I don’t have any further comment on the visit between the Saudi crown prince to Pakistan, but it’s – that kind of diplomatic engagement is routine and something that we support and encourage.

But when it comes to Iran, of course, while we welcome regional de-escalation, we’ve seen the outbreak of limited conflict between Iran and Pakistan; we do remain skeptical about Iran’s intentions given its continued destabilizing behaviour broadly in the region.


News Desk


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