US ‘closely’ monitoring arrests of MQM leaders: State Dept

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Observer Report

Washington—The United States on Saturday said it was aware of the recent arrests of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders and is monitoring the events ‘closely’.
“We’re monitoring those events very closely. We’re aware that Pakistani security forces have arrested some MQM members allegedly involved in violent protests and that these operations have included the closure and the demolition of offices deemed to have been illegally constructed,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said.
Addressing a press briefing, Kirby referred the concerned reporter to the government of Pakistan for “latest information” about the events. The statement comes hours after Karachi police arrested MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan on Friday evening.
On being asked whether members of the MQM offices in US approached the State Department with their concerns, Kirby replied in the negative. However, the spokesperson said that US authorities “routinely communicate with Pakistani counterparts about issues like this.”
Further, referring to Pakistan’s stance on the ongoing Kashmir issue at the United Nations, Kirby reiterated that it is for Pakistan and India to decide on the pace and scope of bilateral talks.
Kirby spoke on the issue of Indian atrocities being committed in Kashmir and called on both India and Pakistan to work together to resolve the issue amicably.
“Our stance regarding the issue of Kashmir has not changed,” said Kirby. “Both India and Pakistan should talk to each other regarding Kashmir,” he added.
Kirby refused to comment on Pakistan taking the issue of Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir to the United Nations and instead, urged both nations to resolve the issue mutually.