Pompeo’s maiden call to Imran Khan triggers controversy

Minnie Murray
August 26, 2018

"This should be immediately corrected", Faisal tweeted.

"Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today's phone call", the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Twitter.

After his victory in the July 25 general election, Khan decided not to use palatial Prime Minister House and instead live in a small portion of it that was previously used as the residence by the military secretary to the prime minister. "In that context, the United States shares concerns about flaws in the pre-voting electoral process, as expressed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan", she said.

"Up until now, that [relationship] has been one way", he said in a speech after winning the election.

However, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert indicated there would be no correction in response to Pakistan's complaint.

But on Friday, Pakistan's newly appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi refuted the USA statement, echoing similar objections raised by other Pakistani officials. "We hope to forge a good, productive working relationship with the new civilian government", said Nauert.

Pakistan and India can not be enemies while there is much that unites the two. "I can only say we stand by our readout", she said.

Is Imran Khan's austere inauguration a harbinger for Pakistan's future?

Mr Pompeo, who is expected in Islamabad on September 5, would be the first foreign dignitary to meet Imran Khan, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, quoting the diplomatic and official sources.

He also said the "current position of the ties between Pakistan and India was not a secret as peace talks are suspended, but we have to see how we can move forward".

Taking note of the election results in Pakistan, Nauert said the U.S. commends the courage of the Pakistani people, including many women, who turned out to vote and showed resolve to determine their country's future. Khan is one of those few elected leaders in Pakistan who is vociferously expressive of the price Pakistan has paid in myriad ways being part of the U.S. war on terror; loss of civilian lives as a effect of operations of Pakistan army against militants in the area previously known as FATA, and U.S. drone attacks within and on Pakistan's borders; and because of the existence and functioning of militant groups within Pakistan that have wreaked havoc within and outside Pakistan.

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