WASHINGTON: The US State Department emphasised on Tuesday that “propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation – lies” will not be allowed to sabotage any bilateral relationship, including the one with Pakistan.
During a weekly press briefing, USSD Spokesperson Ned Price responded to a question about former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tirade against the US, blaming it for his ouster from the premiership last month.
Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan brandished a secret letter at a public gathering in Islamabad on March 27, saying that his government was being overthrown by an international conspiracy and regime change operation undertaken by the United States.
The ex-premier called the no-confidence motion against him a “major foreign conspiracy against Pakistan” and soon after revealed that the US was behind the “threatening letter,” despite earlier claims that revealing the name of the meddling country would be detrimental to Pakistan.
The US has consistently refuted such allegations, and on April 23, the Pakistani National Security Committee (NSC) published a statement rejecting the idea of a “foreign conspiracy” to destabilise former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government but conceded the “blatant interference in the country’s internal affairs.
While responding to the question regarding Chief Lieutenant-General Nadeem Anjum of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) meeting with Secretary Blinken or any other State Department officials, Price stated, “I would refer you to Pakistani authorities to comment on his schedule. I’m not aware of any meeting with Secretary Blinken.”
Price also responded to a question about Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s meeting with US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken by saying that both leaders had the opportunity to reflect on the 75th anniversary of US-Pakistani relations and discuss how the two countries can strengthen cooperation in the future.
He added that the bilateral connection is broad-based. The secretary reaffirmed the US-Pakistan commitment to Afghan stability as well as counter-terrorism.
The spokesperson continued, “They also discussed ongoing engagement in terms of our economic ties, trade and investment, environment, energy, health, and education.”
Both leaders will have the opportunity to follow up on their discussions, according to a State Department official.
While commenting on expanding relations between two countries based on an education exchange programme, the spokesperson said that US educational exchange programme, whether it’s with Pakistan, whether it’s with any other country, is a key aspect of our people-to-people ties.
Price went on to say, “We’ve been fortunate to have Pakistanis studying here in this country. We have American students who’ve had the opportunity to study in Pakistan. Those types of exchanges are always helpful, are always valuable as we seek to understand our partners and, as Americans, seek to better understand the world, and as we have other countries better understand America.”