US supports free, fair elections in Pakistan, not regime change

US supports free, fair elections in Pakistan, not regime change

US supports free, fair elections in Pakistan, not regime change

US State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller.

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WASHINGTON: Describing Pakistan as a “valued partner”, the United States has reiterated that it does not support regime change and looks forward to free and fair elections in the country.

“We do not support regime change,” State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller said in a firm tone while responding to questions from a Pakistani correspondent at his daily news briefing.

In this regard, the spokesperson pointed out that the United States had repeatedly rejected allegations about regime change in Pakistan. “We support free and fair elections and do not take a position one way or another,” the spokesperson said.  “And we see Pakistan as a valued partner of the United States with whom we work on a number of issues. That hasn’t changed and it will not change,” Miller added.

Answering a question regarding a recent protest rally by Pakistani-Americans outside the White House, Miller said that the U.S. Constitution allows the people living here to freely express themselves.

Regarding the murder of a Sikh leader in Canada, the spokesperson said that the US has consistently engaged with the Indian government and has urged New Delhi to cooperate with the Canadian investigation.

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A State Department statement issued after the meeting between the visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made no mention of the top US diplomat having raised the issue, although Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Blinken would do so.

The Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Niggar, was shot dead outside a Gurdawara on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population. Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistan state and was designated by India as a “terrorist” in July 2020.

Tensions flared up after Canada said on Sept 18 that it was investigating “credible allegations” linking the Indian state with the murder, but India dismissed those allegations as “absurd”.

Asked about the allegations at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York, Jaishankar detailed India’s response in diplomatic engagements. “One, we told the Canadians that this [trans-border killings] is not the government of India’s policy,” he said. “Two, we told the Canadians saying that look, if you have something specific, if you have something relevant, you know, let us know – we are open to looking at it.”

The Indian government has often reacted sharply to demands by Sikh separatists in Western countries for Khalistan. The row burst into the open earlier this month after Prime Minister Trudeau said Canada’s intelligence agencies were investigating whether “agents of the government of India” were involved in Nijjar’s murder.

Canada’s allegations about Indian agents’ involvement in the trans-border murder have clouded India’s moment in the diplomatic limelight after the G20 summit.

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