Home Latest News Pakistan Rejects Khalilzad’s ‘Unsolicited Advice’ for Elections

Pakistan Rejects Khalilzad’s ‘Unsolicited Advice’ for Elections

In rebuttal, Foreign Office says, as resilient nation, country will emerge stronger from present challenges

by Staff Report

File photo of Zalmay Khalilzad. Massoud Hossaini—AFP

The Foreign Office on Wednesday rejected remarks of former U.S. envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad calling for elections in Pakistan, saying Islamabad does not need “unsolicited advice” from anyone on how to cope with prevailing challenges.

On Tuesday, Khalilzad posted a series of tweets on prevailing challenges facing Pakistan, “advising” it to proceed toward general elections and not arrest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

“Pakistan faces a triple crisis: political, economic, and security. Despite great potential, it is underperforming and falling far behind its archrival, India. It is time for serious soul-searching, bold thinking, and strategizing,” he wrote. “Here are my thoughts: The sequential cannibalizing of its leaders through jailing, execution, assassination, etc. is the wrong path. Arresting Imran Khan will only deepen the crisis. I urge 2 steps: 1. Set a date for national elections in early June to avert a meltdown. 2. Use this time for the main political parties to confront what has gone wrong and propose a specific plan to rescue and put the country on a path to stability, security, and prosperity. Whichever party wins the election will have a mandate from the people on what must be done,” he added.

Responding to media queries over the statement, which has been perceived as blatant interference into Pakistan’s internal affairs, the Foreign Office made it clear that it would not be tolerated. “Pakistan does not need lectures or unsolicited advice from anyone on how to cope with the challenges we face today,” read its statement, issued by spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch. “As a resilient nation, we will come out stronger from the present difficult situation,” she added.

The former U.S. envoy’s statement came as PTI workers and police clashed outside Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore after law enforcers attempted to arrest the former prime minister on a warrant issued by a trial court over his continuous non-appearance in proceedings. At least 60 police were injured in the clashes, which saw PTI workers pelting law enforcers with “petrol bombs,” sticks and stones, as cops responded with teargas shelling and baton-charges.

The standoff was finally suspended on Wednesday afternoon after the Lahore High Court directed police to stop their operation until 10 a.m. on Thursday.

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