ISLAMABAD: The United States (US) values its longstanding cooperation with Pakistan and it will not let “propaganda” get in the way of an important bilateral relationship, a State Department spokesperson said on Monday, when quizzed about former Pakistan premier Imran Khan’s anti-US rhetoric.
Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April, says his ouster was part of a US-based foreign conspiracy aimed at a “regime change” in Pakistan. Washington and Khan’s political opponents in Pakistan have time and again denied the allegation.
The former premier, who has been leading a march to the Pakistani capital, has renewed his anti-US rhetoric in an attempt to force the government of PM Shehbaz Sharif into announcing snap elections in the country.
“We’ve said many times now, including in this briefing room, that there is no truth to these allegations. We won’t let propaganda, we won’t let misinformation or disinformation get in the way of an important bilateral relationship, including our valued bilateral partnership with Pakistan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a weekly press briefing on Monday.
“We value that longstanding cooperation between the United States and Pakistan. We’ve always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to our interests. That remains unchanged.”
To a question about elections in Pakistan, he said the US supported peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles not just in Pakistan, but around the world.
“These are issues that we discuss with all of our partners around the world,” Price added.
Khan on Friday began his anti-government march to Islamabad from the eastern city of Lahore. The arrival of the former premier is expected to be capped with an open-ended rally in the capital early next week.
General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan before October 2023, or less than 60 days from the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 13, 2023.