WASHINGTON: John Kirby, a United States Department of State Spokesperson said on Tuesday that the White House would continue to support freedom of assembly, expression and the right of peaceful protest in Pakistan.
In a clear reference to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) previous call of a grand protest and sit-in in Islamabad, Kirby said the US was a strong supporter of freedom of assembly and expression.
However, he also insisted that all political parties in the country should refrain from violence and must respect the rule of law.
“The United States will continue to support freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. It’s well documented that we do that. We talk about it every day, including the right of peaceful protest,” he said.
Kirby said the US wanted these rights to be exercised responsibly in Pakistan.
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“…we want these rights to be exercised responsibly, and all parties should refrain from violence and exercise restraint and respect the rule of law.”
Replying a question regarding PTI’s protest, he said the US was aware of the reports from Pakistan about protest activity and bans on protest activity but added these were questions that were better answered by Pakistani authorities.
When asked about the appointment of a new army chief in Pakistan, the US envoy again said, “Such decisions are sovereign decisions and are for the Pakistani government to decide.”