US urges political parties in Pakistan to ‘play nice’

State Dept spokesperson says violence has no place in politics; Washington 'deeply committed' to a democratic and peaceful Pakistan

Picture source - AFP

The United States on Wednesday urged all political parties in Pakistan to refrain from violence and respect the rule of law amid rising tensions following the assassination attempt on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and the violence at protest marches by his supporters as well as the threat to resume the long march.

Responding to a question from a private Pakistani TV reporter at his daily press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price again condemned the shooting of Imran Khan, adding that violence had no place in politics. “We are concerned about these reports of violence,” Price said, adding, “We call on all parties to refrain from violence, harassment, intimidation, and to respect the rule of law.”

“We are deeply committed to a democratic and peaceful Pakistan, and we stand with the people of Pakistan.”

When asked what would be the US message for the heads of political parties amid the situation in Pakistan, he said, “We are concerned about what has happened in Pakistan in recent days. All parties should never resort to violence. They should express their disagreements peacefully, employing universal rights – freedom of expression, freedom of assembly – but violence is never the answer,” he added. He also offered condolences to the family of the individual who was killed in the assassination attempt and hoped for a “quick and thorough recovery of all who were injured, including Imran Khan”.

When asked about cases registered against a private TV owner Salman Iqbal, Price said the US “routinely raises press freedom concerns with Pakistan and other countries” around the world. “We will continue to have those conversations with Pakistani authorities,” he added.

It may be mentioned here that a day after the PTI chief survived an assassination attempt, the US condemned the shooting and urged “all parties to remain peaceful and refrain from violence”.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the US “strongly condemns the attack on Imran Khan and his supporters”, and hoped for “his swift recovery and all who were injured”.

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