WASHINGTON - The United States is strongly opposed to any efforts to impose change of government in Pakistan through violence and destruction of property, a State Department spokesperson said Monday, while calling for restraint by all sides and peaceful dialogue.

“Violence and destruction of private property and government buildings are not acceptable means of resolving political differences. We strongly oppose any efforts to impose extra-constitutional change to the political system,” Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement, according to media reports.

“We have been carefully monitoring the demonstrations in Islamabad. We continue to urge all sides to avoid violence, exercise restraint and respect the rule of law,” Psaki said. PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri have been leading protest demonstrations in Islamabad to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif out of office.

Demonstrators clashed with police over the weekend, and three people were killed and hundreds wounded. “Peaceful protest and freedom of expression are important aspects of democracy,” Psaki added.