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People to decide Pakistan’s future leadership: US State Dept

WASHINGTON – US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel while briefing the newsmen in Washington on Thursday said that Pakistan’s future leadership is for the Pakistani people to decide.

Replying to a question, Vedant Patel said:“our interest continues to be in the democratic process. We also have not been ambiguous about how we feel very strongly that a free and independent media are vital institutions that undergird healthy democracies by ensuring that an electorate can make informed decisions and hold the government to account. We believe journalists play a critical role in covering fair and transparent elections.

Vedant Patel said that we also continue to be concerned by any report that may be out there of restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of association and the press. “We want to see free and fair elections around the world, including in Bangladesh, and of course, including in Pakistan as well. And when we see things that are at odds at our view for the region and things that are at odd for Pakistani authorities’ stated intent, we’ll continue to address them.”

In reply to a question regarding tension between Pakistan and Iran, Vedant Patel said that the United State is concerned about escalating tensions in the region, particularly as Iran continues its destabilizing and provocative actions. And we’ll continue to remain in close touch with Pakistani counterparts, and we’ll continue to monitor the region closely.