The United States congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on his appointment as Pakistan’s new prime minister, after the fall of his predecessor in a parliamentary no-confidence vote. The senior U.S. official reaffirmed the “importance” of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s severe anti-American rhetoric and his unfounded allegations that the United States orchestrated his resignation looked to signify a desire to mend relations with the United States, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on Friday.
In Blinken’s words, “Pakistan has been an essential partner on a broad range of shared interests for over 75 years, and we place a high importance on our relationship.”
According to Blinken, the comment came two days after Sharif, a Western-friendly politician in his 70s, took the oath of office after days of political turbulence that culminated in Khan’s ouster following Pakistan’s first no-confidence vote since achieving independence from Britain in 1947.
Khan, a former cricketer who became a politician, attempted to disrupt the vote by dissolving Parliament and seeking early elections, saying that the United States was conspiring with his opponents to have him removed from power.
Khan, 69, gave no evidence to support his claims, which the United States categorically disputed.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled Khan’s actions to be illegal and ordered the election to be held as scheduled. On Sunday, a majority of the members of Parliament’s lower chamber voted in favour of his removal.
Despite Blinken’s positive tone, experts believe that the United States would not seek a large expansion of bilateral relations, but will instead stay primarily focused on security cooperation, particularly in Afghanistan and counter-terrorism efforts.
Observers predicted that Sharif, the brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, would be engaged with urgent internal matters, particularly the attempt to control a catastrophic economic crisis.