Thursday Mar 16, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a shut-up call to former special US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad for interfering in Pakistan’s internal matters, The News reported Thursday.
The Foreign Office's response came after the former US special envoy for Afghanistan said that arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan would "deepen" the crisis, calling for serious "soul-searching and bold thinking".
“Pakistan does not need lectures or unsolicited advice from anyone on how to cope with the challenges we face today. As a resilient nation, we will come out stronger from the present difficult situation,” FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said.
PTI workers and police clashed for nearly 24 hours as Zaman Park virtually became a battleground, with the law enforcers trying to get through supporters and arrest Khan, who was voted out as the prime minister last April.
Scores of people — including police personnel and PTI workers — were injured in the process as the law enforcers fired teargas and party supporters resorted to throwing Molotov cocktails.
Following the hours-long standoff between the authorities and the PTI workers, the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed police to stop its operation in Lahore's Zaman Park till tomorrow morning.
The operation to arrest Khan came after a lower court in the capital Islamabad issued a warrant against him for defying orders to present himself in court over charges that he unlawfully sold state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was prime minister from 2018 to 2022.
Legal proceedings against Khan began after he was ousted from office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has held nationwide protest rallies demanding a snap election, during one of which he was shot and wounded.
In a series of tweets, Khalilzad had explained three issues being faced by Pakistan — political, economic, and security — and called for serious strategising to avert the crises.
Furthermore, the former US envoy said that the "sequential cannibalising" of political leaders through jailing, execution, and assassination was the wrong path.
Urging the Pakistani government to take necessary steps to prevent the country from a meltdown, Khalilzad said a date should be decided for the national elections in early June.
He said, meanwhile, the government should make a plan to rescue the country and put it 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.