US backs ‘democratic’ order in Pakistan

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The United States said on Thursday that it backed democratic principles in Pakistan after former prime minister Imran Khan, an outspoken critic of Washington, was slapped with terrorism charges.

“We support the peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional and legal principles,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

“The United States values our longstanding cooperation with Pakistan and has always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests,” he said.

He declined to weigh in more specifically on charges against the PTI chief, who was ousted in a parliamentary vote in April but hopes to stage a comeback in elections.

Imran has staged rallies to rail against his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, and has alleged a conspiracy against him orchestrated by the United States, allegations repeatedly dismissed in Washington as baseless.

The former PM was granted interim bail after being slapped with charges by an anti-terror court over comments against a woman judge over the detention of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill.

Police filed charges on Saturday against Imran Khan over what they said was a threat when he spoke about police torture of Gill, who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the military.

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