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Case of Imran Khan not ‘unfounded’ where US should comment

State Department spokesperson says former premier’s arrest internal matter of Pakistan
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller addresses a press briefing in Washington on August 7, 2023. Screengrab via YouTube/US Departmen of State
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller addresses a press briefing in Washington on August 7, 2023. Screengrab via YouTube/US Departmen of State

The United States administration has reiterated that the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan was an internal matter of Pakistan, with an addition that it was not ‘unfounded’.

“We believe that is an internal matter for Pakistan, and we continue to call for the respect of democratic principles, human rights, and rule of law in Pakistan, as we do around the world,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in response to a query on the conviction and arrest of Khan.

When asked that whether the US response was subdued or muted, the State Department spokesperson said: “I’ll let people characterize our responses in all kinds of different ways.”

He was of the view that the administration’s responses to the development and Khan’s previous arrests have been consistent at all times in declaring it an internal matter for Pakistan.

Miller was asked a flurry of questions after his statement by a couple of journalists sitting in the briefing room in Washington on August 7.

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Khan was arrested on August 5 after a district and sessions court in Islamabad found him guilty of “corrupt practices” in the Toshakhana criminal case. He was awarded a three-year prison term.

The former prime minister could not contest the next elections, according to the sentence.

They pressed him on his words “internal matter” while questioning the reasons for the US comments on the Navalny case and Julian Assange.

“There are times when we believe that prosecutions are completely unfounded and —,” he said when a reporter that how Khan’s arrest and prosecution were different than the Navalny case.

“So we believe at times there are cases that are so obviously unfounded that is – that the United States believes it should say something about the matter. We have not made that determination here,” he replied to a query that there was some foundation to Khan’s arrest and prosecution.

He reiterated that it was Pakistan’s internal matter in his response. But Miller replied that Russia was “clearly violating” Navalny’s human rights to a query on whether the case of Putin’s critic was an internal matter of the Kremlin.

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