U.S terms Imran Khan’s prosecution as ‘legal and internal’ matter

DP News (Talat Shah) A United States official said on Tuesday that Imran Khan’s prosecution was a legal matter and was for Pakistani courts to decide, hours after the former prime minister was sentenced to a jail term for leaking state secrets. Asked about the 10-year prison sentence handed to Khan in the cipher case, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the US wants to see the democratic process unfold fairly in Pakistan. “So the prosecution of the former prime minister is a legal matter and we would defer to the Pakistani courts with respect to a legal matter, but of course we want to see the democratic process unfold in a way that allows broad participation for all parties and respects democratic principles,” he said. He went on to say that the US does not have any position on Pakistan’s internal matters and has no position regarding candidates for power in Pakistan. “We want to see a free, fair, and open democratic process, and when it comes to legal matters, those are matters for the Pakistani courts to decide,” he said. Miller added that the US wants to see a fair election in Pakistan and will ‘monitor’ the next 10 days. However, he declined to compare the sentence handed to Imran Khan with events in Venezuela after a reporter raised questions on how the cipher trial was conducted. “So they are different situations, and we have not yet made that conclusion with respect to the Pakistani legal process,” he said. “When you look at Venezuela, we are looking at the entire history of the Maduro regime in cracking down on democracy and, most importantly in this case, failing to carry out the commitments that they made to allow candidates to run.” The US had revoked sanctions relied for Venezuela’s gold sector after a court upheld disqualification of two candidates from the presidential election.