FO snubs Zalmay Khalilzad over uninvited advice

By Our Diplomatic

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday reacted strongly to a series of sug-gestions made by former US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, saying Pakistan did not need “unsolicited advice” on the challenges it faces.
Tuesday, Khalilzad, who had served as the special envoy for Afghan reconciliation under both the Trump and Biden administrations, said that Pakistan was “underperforming and falling far behind” India.

“Pakistan faces a triple crisis: political, economic, and security. Despite great potential, it is underperforming and falling far behind its archrival, India. It is time for serious soul-searching, bold thinking, and strategising,” he had remarked on Tuesday night as law en-forcers clashed with PTI supporters outside the home of ex-premier Imran Khan in Lahore.

“The sequential cannibalising of its (Pakistan’s) leaders through jailing, execution, assassi-nation, etc is the wrong path,” Khalilzad said, adding that arresting PTI chief Imran would only “deepen the crisis”.

He proposed “two steps” to deal with the country’s challenges, the first being to set a date for general elections in early June to “avert a meltdown”.

Secondly, he called for using this time for the main political parties to “confront what has gone wrong and propose a specific plan to rescue and put the country on a path to stabil-ity, security, and prosperity”.

“Whichever party wins the election will have a mandate from the people on what must be done,” he said.

FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch responded to Khalilzad’s tweets yesterday, say-ing: “Pakistan does not need lectures or unsolicited advice from anyone on how to cope with the challenges we face today.”

“As a resilient nation, we will come out stronger from the present difficult situation,” she added.