- The US State Department spokesman says the US values longstanding cooperation with the country.
- Says the US considers a democratic Pakistan critical to the US interests.
WASHINGTON: The United States said that it supported democratic principles in Pakistan after former prime minister Imran Khan, an outspoken critic of Washington, secured bail in a terror case filed against him for threatening Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry during a public rally.
“We support the peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional and legal principles,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Thursday.
“The United States values our long standing cooperation with Pakistan and has always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests.”
The State Department spokesman declined to weigh in more specifically on charges against Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary vote in April but hopes to stage a comeback in elections.
Khan has staged rallies to rail against his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, and has alleged a conspiracy against him orchestrated by the United States, allegations repeatedly dismissed by Washington as baseless.
On August 25, Imran Khan appeared before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad. The court granted his bail plea till September 1 against a surety bond worth Rs100,000.
Think of Pakistan: Imran Khan to ‘decision-makers and influencers’
As he appeared before the ATC, he talked to the media outside the court, calling upon those “making and influencing” decisions to take Pakistan into account.
He asserted the world is making fun of the country over reports of him being booked in a terror case for intending to take legal action against officials whom he alleges are involved in the torture of his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill in prison.
“Torture and sexual abuse was inflicted on Shahbaz Gill and when I said that I’ll take legal action against the police officials involved and the magistrate who sent Gill into police custody despite torture being proven in court, I was booked in a terror case,” he said.
He said when news of this spread across the globe it gave an impression of Pakistan being a banana republic.
“They [the coalition government] are terrified of PTI’s power [..] and are trying to get the head of the biggest party arrested in this case just for a technical knockout and to save themselves,” he added.
The PTI chair had staged a rally in the federal capital on August 20 to express solidarity with his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill after claims of torture in custody. He said that the additional sessions judge — who sent Gill into physical remand on the police’s request — should brace herself for consequences.
An FIR was registered against him under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Margalla police station for threatening the judge and other senior officers of the Islamabad Police during the rally.
A day after the registration of a case against him, Imran Khan secured transit bail till August 25 from the Islamabad High Court which directed him to approach the relevant forum for pre-arrest bail.