“We just want to make sure that whatever happens in Pakistan is consistent with the rule of law, with the constitution,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference in Washington.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, speaking alongside Blinken, noted that Britain enjoyed “a longstanding and close relationship” with Commonwealth member Pakistan. “We want to see peaceful democracy in that country. We want to see the rule of law adhered to,” Cleverly said.
Both declined to comment in further detail, with Cleverly saying he had not been fully briefed on the situation.
UN says it’s monitoring political situation in the country
“As we have said before, the United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus another,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when asked about the situation in Pakistan.
The United Nations said on Tuesday that it would monitor the political situation in Pakistan following Imran Khan’s arrest to make sure that all political figures in the country were treated fairly, Anwar Iqbal in Washington adds.
“Our concern is making sure that all of the political figures in Pakistan are treated fairly and, of course, that the due process is followed,” said deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq when asked to comment on Imran Khan’s arrest.
“So, we will follow this process as it goes on to make sure that our concerns are being addressed,” Mr Haq added while addressing a Tuesday afternoon news briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.
In Washington, Amnesty International, a London-based rights group, shared a statement issued by its headquarters. “The clashes unfolding between Imran Khan’s supporters and security enforcement following the former prime minister’s arrest risk several human rights violations,” Amnesty warned in its statement.
“We call upon authorities to show restraint, and ensure any response is in line with the principles of proportionality, legality, necessity, and non-discrimination,” it added.
Michael Kugelman, a Washington-based scholar of South Asian affairs, noted in a tweet that the situation in Pakistan was getting messier day by day.
“Today it appears the Pakistan army has reached an ‘enough-is-enough’ moment re Khan. After several false starts/unsuccessful arrest attempts by the police, this time the mil took matters into its own hands,” he wrote. “What a mess!”
Jeremy McLellan, a social media personality who often comments on events in Pakistan, claimed in his tweet that “Imran Khan wasn’t arrested, he was illegally kidnapped … because he got too popular”.
“The Pakistani people will not take this lying down,” he warned.
Madiha Afzal, another scholar of South Asian affairs associated with the Brookings Institution, Washington, pointed out that “while things unravel in Pakistan, PM Shehbaz Sharif has stayed on in London for one more day “on [his brother] Nawaz’s instructions” — as per the information minister.
Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US diplomat who negotiated the peace deal with the Taliban, also commented on the situation following Iran Khan’s arrest.
“The arrest of Imran Khan is deplorable and will have far-ranging consequences. I condemn it in the strongest terms,” he wrote in a tweet. “It’s painful to watch a country so rich in potential, with an ancient heritage of culture, natural resources, an entrepreneurial spirit and hard-working people, repeatedly be thrown into chaos by its own dysfunctional elites — civilian and military — with some exceptions.”
He also urged Pakistan’s allies — like China, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — to step in and help defuse the situation. “Countries with strong ties to Pakistan must help its leaders reach an agreement that averts the imminent meltdown,” he wrote.