In anticipation of the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, the United States has clarified that it does not participate in the process of “choosing” the country’s leaders. Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the Department of State, emphasized that the U.S. exclusively engages with duly elected leaders and the government.

Addressing reporters, Mr. Miller responded to a direct inquiry on Monday from an American Pakistani journalist. The journalist alleged that the U.S. was responsible for bringing back “this old corrupt criminal leader,” referring to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, into Pakistan. The journalist further urged the U.S. to “at least condemn the corrupt politicians.”

The journalist referenced various reports from a Pakistani newspaper, asserting that these reports, which were allegedly unchallenged or uncondemned by the U.S., raised concerns.

“In Pakistan, the Frontier Post published stories about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister, allegedly receiving money from Osama bin Laden to disrupt the Benazir government. The story received no condemnation. Similarly, reports of acquiring state lands without challenge or condemnation in any court were published. Additionally, stories about international money transfers and financial money laundering were never officially disputed,” he detailed.

“Even if the U.S. played no role in the removal of cricketer-turned-politician and former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, it’s crucial to address the return of a Panama Paper convict to Pakistan. Pakistani Americans are expressing discontent with President Joe Biden’s silence, believing that the U.S. has brought back an allegedly corrupt leader. 

While insisting that the U.S. had no role in the removal of cricketer-turned-politician and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, the journalist urged the U.S. to at least acknowledge the return of a Panama Paper convict to Pakistan. He conveyed the dissatisfaction of Pakistani Americans with President Joe Biden’s silence, claiming that they felt the U.S. had brought back an allegedly corrupt leader.

Mr. Miller reiterated that the United States “does not play any role in choosing the leaders of Pakistan” and emphasized their engagement with the leadership chosen by the Pakistani people. He stated, “We will continue to engage with the Government of Pakistan on all these issues.”

The State Department’s statement comes amid political developments in Pakistan, with general elections scheduled for February 8. The return of Nawaz Sharif from exile and the incarceration of Imran Khan have been prominent issues in the lead-up to the elections. The comment coincides with the visit of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir to the U.S. during a crucial time in diplomatic engagements between the two countries.

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