WASHINGTON: The State Department said that former US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, did not represent the nation’s foreign policy and was not speaking for the administration of President of Joe Biden.
Vedant Patel, a spokesperson of the State Department, made the statement in response to a query posed during a press briefing on Monday regarding Khalilzad’s recent comments on the volatile political situation in Pakistan.
Khalilzad, who previously served as the special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation under both the Donald Trump and Biden administrations, had recently made a series of statements asserting that Pakistan was lagging behind arch-rival India and underperforming.
“Pakistan faces a triple crisis: political, economic, and security. Despite great potential, it is underperforming and falling far behind its archrival, India. It is time for serious soul-searching, bold thinking, and strategising,” he had tweeted.
Khalilzad had criticised Pakistan for jailing political leaders and suggested “two steps” to address the country’s challenges. The first step, he proposed, is to set a date for general elections in early June to prevent a potential meltdown.
He specifically hinted at desperate attempts of the government of Shehbaz Sharif to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan.
Commenting on the matter in the press briefing, Patel said that Khalilzad was a private citizen of the US, and “any social media activity or comments or tweets that you might reference, those are done in his private capacity, does not represent US foreign policy, and he does not speak for this administration.”
In response to another question regarding the political “chaos” in Pakistan, the spokesperson responded that any implication of violence, harassment or intimidation had no place in politics.
“As we do with our partners all around the world, we encourage all sides in Pakistan to respect the rule of law and allow the people of Pakistan to democratically determine their own country’s leadership pursuant to their own Constitution and laws,” he added.