During press briefing, State Department spokesperson says U.S. supports ‘peaceful upholding of constitutional democratic principles’
The U.S. State Department on Monday reiterated its denial of appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s allegations that Washington “conspired” to oust him from office by funding the opposition’s no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
The prime minister, during a campaign rally on March 27, accused a “foreign country”—since identified by him as the U.S.—of interfering in Pakistan’s domestic politics, and plotting to oust his regime through the no-trust motion filed against him by the united opposition. Instead of providing any evidence of his claims, Khan waved around a white piece of paper—describing it as a “letter” from a foreign official—claiming a foreign country had warned of “dire consequences” for Pakistan if he remained in power.
Subsequently, the government clarified that the “letter” was in fact a diplomatic cable sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. on the basis of his discussions with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu. It also convened a meeting of the National Security Committee after which a statement was issued expressing concerns over its contents and condemning any attempt to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs. The Foreign Office has announced that a demarche has been issued to the U.S. envoy in Pakistan.
Contrary to Khan’s claims, the NSC statement does not specify any “conspiracy” and has not named any opposition leaders as working with foreign powers to oust Khan’s government. However, the since-dissolved National Assembly’s deputy speaker dismissed the no-trust motion, refusing to allow voting on it, by invoking Article 5 (loyalty to the state) and referring to the NSC meeting. This has provoked a constitutional crisis, with the Supreme Court currently hearing a suo motu case on whether the deputy speaker exercised his due authority or violated the Constitution.
“There is absolutely no truth to the allegations,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated in response to a question during a regular press briefing. “As you heard from me last week, we support the peaceful upholding of constitutional democratic principles. That is the case in Pakistan; it is the case around the world,” he stressed.
“We do not support one political party over another. We support the broader principles, the principles of rule of law, of equal justice under the law,” he added.