pakistan: US looks forward to work with new PM Shehbaz Sharif; says ties with Pakistan ‘vital’



WASHINGTON: The US has said that it was looking forward to working with Pakistan‘s new government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as it again refuted ousted premier Imran Khan‘s allegations of America’s role in toppling his government.
Pakistan’s relations with the US have been lukewarm, especially under the Biden administration. The ties touched a new low after 69-year-old Khan, who was ousted last week through a Parliament vote, accused the US of conspiring to topple his government. The US government has bluntly denied the allegations.
“We’ve congratulated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his election by the Pakistani parliament, and we look forward to working with him and his government,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Thursday.
Price said for almost 75 years, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has been “a vital one”.
“We look forward to continuing that work with Pakistan’s government to promote peace and prosperity in Pakistan and the broader region,” he said.
A day earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Sharif and said the US values the bilateral relationship and is looking forward to continuing the long-standing cooperation, signalling Washington’s intent to improve ties with Islamabad under the new regime.
Responding to a question on Imran Khan’s claims of the US role in overthrowing his government with the help of the Opposition parties, Price said there is “no truth” in it.
“Our message has been clear and consistent on this. There is no truth whatsoever to the allegations that have been put forward. We support the peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles, including respect for human rights. We do not support, whether it’s in Pakistan or anywhere else around the world, one political party over another,” he said.
The US has rebutted Khan’s allegations several times earlier also.
“We support broader principles, including the rule of law and equal justice under the law,” Price said.
A day earlier, supporters of Khan organised anti-US protests in Washington DC. They attacked a Pakistani-American journalist and few community members as they continue to accuse the US of playing a role in the regime change.
Khan had alleged that Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in the Department of State, was involved in the “foreign conspiracy” to topple his government.
Price said the US agrees with the assessment of the Pakistan military which said that it has no evidence to suggest that the Biden administration had threatened or was involved in any conspiracy, seeking the ouster of the Imran Khan’s government.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media waing of Pakistan’s army – Director-General Major General Babar Iftikhar on Thursday said that the word “conspiracy” was not used in the statement issued after a meeting of the National Security Committee convened last month to discuss a controversial letter, which according to then prime minister Khan threatened to topple his government.
The powerful Pakistan Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 73 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Khan had brandished a ‘threat letter’ on March 27 at a public gathering before his ouster claiming that his government had been threatened by the US government and opposition were involved in a conspiracy to topple him.


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