Ex-US Ambassador asks PM Shehbaz to ‘publicly disassociate himself’ from Rana Sanaullah’s statement against Imran Khan

Rana Sanaullah Imran Khan

Former US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has jumped again in support of Imran Khan and asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to “publicly disassociate himself from his minister’s comments”.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, the former US diplomat said the Pakistani interior minister’s statement that “either Imran Khan exists or we do is shocking and should be rejected by all God-fearing and law-abiding Pakistanis”.

Khalilzad’s comments were about the recent interview of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, which stirred debate over the mainstream and social media.

Rana Sanaullah had said that the country’s political situation had reached the point where the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) could go to any extent to protect its existence from PTI chief Imran Khan.

“The country’s politics has been brought to the level where the existence of only one of the two [PTI and PML-N] is possible,” the interior minister said in an interview aired on Saturday.

Terming his remarks an incitement to violence against the country’s major political leader, Khalilzad urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to publicly disassociate himself from his minister’s comments.

“This mindset is a big reason for Pakistan’s dysfunctionality. If that does not change, the country will continue to be mired in crisis,” he added.

However, it is also pertinent to be mentioned here that the US State Department has clarified that Khalilzad did not represent the country’s foreign policy and did not speak for the administration of President Joe Biden.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) also reacted strongly earlier this month to a series of suggestions made by the former US envoy, saying Pakistan did not need “unsolicited advice” on the challenges it faces.

FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch had responded to Khalilzad’s tweets, saying: “Pakistan does not need lectures or unsolicited advice from anyone on how to cope with the challenges we face today.”