US State Department’s deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel avoided directly answering a question about missing journalists and military courts in Pakistan, saying that US would engage directly with Pakistan on diplomatic matters.
In a regular press briefing on June 5, Patel was asked by a Pakistani journalist about the US reaction to the event of the past year. The journalist mentioned politicians being arrested, journalists missing and the establishment of military courts to try civilians.
“No condemnation from the U.S. with regard to any of these things?” the journalist said.
Patel replied that the US government engages directly with Pakistan on matters which are important to the US and significant for regional security.
“And as I have said before, we of course want to see a prosperous and stable Pakistan. That is in the interest of U.S.-Pakistan relations,” he said.
Then in a broken up sentence, the spokesman said that the US would not enegae with everythin it read out.
“And when we direct – we engage with these – with this country directly and not everything we read out are – when it comes to our diplomatic engagements.”
When the journalist pressed him about ‘human rights’, the spokesman said he would like to move on.
Earlier, he was also asked about Afia Siddiqui who has been in US jail and was recently allowed to meet her family for the first time in over 20 years. Patel said the question could not be answered by the State Department and must be directed to law enforcement.
He also added that he would not ‘speculate or hypothesize’ about Shakeel Afridi who is in jail in Pakistan.