US says supports ‘constitutional’ process in Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The United States is “closely” monitoring the situation in Pakistan and supports the country’s constitutional process, a State Department spokesman said Thursday when asked about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that a “foreign country” was working with the opposition to oust his government.

“Well, we are closely following developments in Pakistan, and we respect (and) we support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law,” Spokesman Ned Price said in reply to a question at his daily press briefing.

“But,” he added, “When it comes to those allegations, there is no truth to them.” The same question was asked at the White House press briefing, and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, said, “There is absolutely no truth to that allegation.”

Opposition parties in the National Assembly submitted a no-confidence motion earlier this month, seeking PM Khan’s removal from power.

In an address to the nation Thursday, the Pakistani leader said that he would not resign and would stand up to foreign intervention, rejecting the opposition’s mismanagement charges.

“The vote will take place on Sunday. Whatever the outcome may be, I will emerge stronger. I will not let this conspiracy succeed at any cost,” PM Khan said in his address.

The National Security Committee, the country’s highest security forum was specially summoned, expressed grave concern at the communication from a country, and termed the language used by the foreign official as “undiplomatic.”

“The Committee concluded that the communication amounted to blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan by the country in question, which was unacceptable under any circumstances.”

“The Committee had decided to issue a strong demarche both in Islamabad and in the country’s capital through proper channels in keeping with diplomatic norms,” a statement issued at the end of the NSC meeting said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office Thursday said the “requisite demarches have been made through diplomatic channels” as decided earlier in the National Security Committee.