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Did US envoy meet Imran Khan in Adiala jail?


Sep 26, 2018
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US State Department responds to reports regarding Imran Khans meeting with envoy in press briefing

  • US says it does not take position on people seeking political office.
  • Says in close contact with Islamabad on Afghan refugees.
  • Adds safe resettlement of Afghan refugees in Pak-US interest.
WASHINGTON DC: Amid claims that US Ambassador Donald Blome held a meeting with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in Adiala Jail, a State Department official clarified that Washington does “not take position” on individuals seeking “political office”.

“So I would – I would refer you to the embassy to – to comment on any meetings the ambassador has had. But as we have said a number of times, we do not take position – a position on candidates for political office in Pakistan or any other country,” said spokesperson Matthew Miller in a press briefing in response to a question on the meeting that was reported in Pakistani media.

The former prime minister, who has accused the US of ousting him, is currently in the Adiala jail after he was arrested in the cipher and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases.

Recently, US Ambassador Donald Blome held meetings with key political leaders in Punjab as the country heads towards elections.

"In the course of his engagements with a broad range of Pakistani political actors, US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald A. Blome met in Multan with representatives of various political parties at a gathering hosted by former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, and in Lahore with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) founder Jahangir Khan Tareen," spokesperson Jonathan Lalley said in a statement.

"They discussed the importance of free, fair elections and the right of the Pakistani people to choose their future leaders. They also discussed the strengths of the US-Pakistan trade and investment relationship and the development of the US-Pakistan 'Green Alliance' framework."

US in contact with Pakistan on Afghan refugees​

To a question on the Afghan refugees waiting for US visa in Pakistan, Miller said that Washington is in “close and constant” contact with Islamabad on “the safety of individuals in the US pipeline”.

“It is our desire to work in good faith with the Government of Pakistan to address any concerns that it may have. Our key concern is the safety of the vulnerable and at-risk individuals. We believe it is in both our countries’ interest to ensure the safe and efficient resettlement of refugees and asylum speakers – asylum seekers,” said the spokesperson.

The State Department, once again, urged Pakistan, and other countries, to uphold their respective obligations in the treatment of refugees and asylum speakers. It also called on Afghanistan’s neighbours “to allow entry for Afghans seeking international protection, and coordinate with international humanitarian organisations to provide humanitarian assistance”.

When pressed on sharing the number of Americans – Afghans “in the pipeline’, Miller told jounrlaists that he did not have them with him at that time.

Pakistan has launched a crackdown against Afghan citizens living illegally in Pakistan to leave the country. The crackdown was launched after the government’s November 1 deadline given to illegal Afghans expired.

Islamabad has said the deportations are to protect its "welfare and security" after a sharp rise in attacks, which the government blames on militants operating from Afghanistan.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that Afghans awaiting resettlement to the US, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada after fleeing the Taliban government are at risk of deportation after their Pakistan visas expired.

Several Western nations are still in the process of resettling Afghan refugees two years on from the Taliban takeover, forcing many families to wait in limbo for months in Pakistan.

The government has ordered authorities against arresting the Afghans awaiting resettlement in the US and sparing them from deportation.
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