Former US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has responded to comments made by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, calling him a “double agent”. During an interview with the Geo News program “Capital Talk,” Zardari accused Khalilzad of being on “a payroll” and lobbying for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the former ruling party led by Imran Khan. In response, Khalilzad denied the allegations and urged Zardari to “put the country first and honor the legacy of BB [Benazir Bhutto].”
Khalilzad took to Twitter to defend himself, stating that he does not lobby for anyone or any country and is no one’s agent. He explained that he had shared his sincere concerns about Pakistan’s triple crisis and suggested what should be done to address it. He further urged Zardari to prioritize the country’s interests and avoid a potential meltdown that could hurt the 220 million people who do not have the luxury of owning multiple homes in different countries.
Zardari’s accusations against Khalilzad came after he was questioned about the former US envoy’s support for the PTI. Zardari responded by calling Khalilzad a “double agent” and claiming that he was working for the CIA. Zardari also criticized Khalilzad’s negative remarks about him in his book, stating that he would not expect anything positive from someone who has no roots in the country and does not understand its needs.
Khalilzad’s response underscores the ongoing tensions between the US and Pakistan over the role of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the potential impact on Pakistan’s security. Khalilzad has been a key figure in US efforts to broker peace talks with the Taliban, but the process has been stalled due to ongoing violence and political instability in the region.
Zardari’s comments also highlight the deep divisions within Pakistan’s political establishment and the challenges faced by the ruling PTI party in maintaining its grip on power. With the country facing economic challenges and rising tensions with India, Pakistan’s leaders must prioritize stability and work together to address the country’s many challenges.
In conclusion, Khalilzad’s response to Zardari’s accusations highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the US and Pakistan in maintaining their relationship and working together to address the many issues facing the region. While tensions may persist, it is clear that both countries must work together to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.