The United States has formally requested the Pakistani government to grant consular access to fashion designer Khadija Shah, a US citizen who was detained following the May 9 protests. Principal Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State, Vedant Patel, made this statement during a weekly press briefing.
When asked about the Biden administration’s involvement in aiding the release of American citizens arrested after the protests, Patel affirmed that the US was prepared to provide appropriate assistance. He emphasized the importance of Pakistani authorities respecting the detainees’ right to a fair trial.
Regarding Khadija Shah’s case, Patel stated that the US was closely following her situation and had requested consular access from Pakistani officials. He reiterated the US government’s consistent stance of urging foreign governments to comply with consular notifications when American citizens are detained. As Khadija Shah is a dual national, the US is engaging directly with the Government of Pakistan on her behalf.
While the spokesperson could not provide additional details regarding consular access for Shah, he affirmed the US’s commitment to addressing the matter.
In response to a question about allegations of former army chief General (Retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa manipulating the US to oust the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson, Vedant Patel dismissed the claims as “categorically false.” He reiterated that Pakistani politics are the sole responsibility of the Pakistani people, who should pursue their political decisions within the framework of their own Constitution and laws. Patel emphasized the US’s enduring cooperation with Pakistan, valuing a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to American interests.
The US Department of State maintains a keen interest in promoting human rights and fair treatment for its citizens detained abroad. The request for consular access to Khadija Shah underscores the US government’s commitment to supporting its citizens and ensuring their rights are upheld during legal proceedings.