Khalilzad rebuts accusations, denies being anyone's agent

Zalmay Khalilzad, the former United States representative in Afghanistan, on Sunday vehemently denied the allegations levelled against him that he was lobbying on behalf of any country or individual.

He emphasised that he was not an agent of any person or nation in response to a statement made by PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

While expressing his serious concern about the escalating crisis in Pakistan, Khalilzad clarified that he was only suggesting what steps Pakistan should take to address it in his previous tweet.

Responding to Pakistan's "Mr. 10 Percent": I do not lobby for anyone or any country and am no one's agent. I have shared my sincere concern about Pakistan's triple crisis, which unfortunately is intensifying, and have suggested what should be done. "Mr. Ten Percent" should put…
— Zalmay Khalilzad (@realZalmayMK) April 15, 2023

Khalilzad further elaborated that the crisis in Pakistan was unfortunately worsening, urging Zardari, whom he referred to as "Mr 10% ", to prioritise the interests of his country and respect the legacy of Benazir Bhutto to avert the impending disaster faced by the people of Pakistan, not the elite.

He noted that individuals like Zardari would retreat to their luxurious homes abroad, while the common people would bear the brunt of the problems.

In a detailed tweet, the former US envoy emphasised that the Pakistani establishment and political leaders should uphold the rule of law and not sow divisions within the Supreme Court (SC), but rather implement its decisions.

He called for a commitment to the principles of justice and equality in order to address the challenges facing Pakistan.

In response to Khalilzad's tweet, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) spokesperson Shazia Marri accused the former US envoy of exposing himself further by speaking against Zardari.

She praised Zardari as a patriot, drawing parallels with the late Benazir, alleging that Khalilzad had ulterior motives and had accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in the past.

Shazia claimed that all “secrets” had been revealed and linked it to a conspiracy related to the "selection" of former premier Imran Khan.

She alleged that Imran only sought to create chaos in Pakistan, calling for exposing those who spread instability in the country.

Zardari had recently alleged in an interview that Khalilzad was a "salaried man" who was being influenced by a lobby to support Imran and his party, the PTI.

Zardari made this statement in reference to Khalilzad's tweet warning against the arrest of the former premier.

Khalilzad had cautioned against the arrest of Imran, stating that the successive targeting of political leaders through imprisonment, execution, or assassination was the wrong approach and would only deepen the crisis.

He had suggested two steps to address the brewing political and economic crises in Pakistan – holding parliamentary elections in June and utilising the time for the main political parties to identify and address the root causes of the challenges faced by the country.

Khalilzad had emphasised that whichever party wins the elections will have a mandate from the people to implement the necessary measures for stability, security, and prosperity.

However, his statement drew a strong reaction from the Foreign Office, which stated that Pakistan did not need unsolicited advice from anyone, expressing confidence in the resilience of the nation to overcome the current difficulties.

The US State Department also clarified that Khalilzad's statements did not represent the US policy and that he was speaking in his personal capacity.


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