KARACHI- US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has maintained that his country’s position on Balochistan has been very clear, but the human rights violations being committed there are a big problem.

In an interview with BBC, Munter said the issue necessitated talks with Pakistan government, but the US had no intention to do anything more than that, which could destabilise Pakistan.

He described the recently held congressional hearing on Balochistan a routine matter and said the US government had no control over the Congress. Munter said the US had always expressed concerns wherever human rights were abused and shared its standpoint with that country.

He repeated the argument that the US supports the democratic system in Pakistan. “We will back the leadership, which has been elected by the people, and that is why we want Pakistan’s institutions remain successful.”

According to Munter, there are people who have been talking about imminent clash between the army, judiciary and the Parliament. “But the Parliament and the judiciary are strong in Pakistan, while the executive is also very powerful.” “I think people (Pakistanis) are passing through a challenge and they would have to face similar tests. The friends of Pakistan are watching closely how the democratic institutions are working here.”

Every country required the armed forces and these institutions must work together in Pakistan as well, he observed. The ambassador described Pakistani media as free, saying discussion on the judiciary, government and army meant that the democracy was flourishing in the country.

Talking about the US national Mansoor Ijaz, Munter said the memogate was an internal issue of Pakistan. “We think that it would not turn out to be a big issue. We are engaged in other matters that are vital for bilateral ties. By the way, people believe that the US interferes too much. We hope that Pakistan will resolve the matter amicably.”

When asked whether the US will work together with PTI Chairman Imran Khan if he is elected as prime minister, Munter’s reply was: “The US would collaborate with every democratically elected person. And we are ready to move forward with an opposition who is in favour of democracy.”

Munter said he held a meeting with Imran. “We are open to them (PTI), just like we are to the government,” he remarked.

He said the US wanted to establish peace in Afghanistan through its leadership. “The good news is that Pakistan and the US have agreed to support Afghanistan, in case it decides to approach any international forum for a peaceful solution,” the ambassador added.

After the Salala checkpost attack, Munter said reconciliation process had stagnant in Afghanistan, but the US still had to keep Pakistan informed about the progress made so far. However, the process would start again once the Pakistani Parliament held a debate on the matter, he added.

According to Munter, every country should keep in mind and support the demands and aspirations of the Afghan people.

About peace talks with Taliban in Qatar, he said the process, though in its initial stage, was led by Afghans, adding Pakistan was in favour of the initiative, while Afghanistan understood that Pakistan’s participation was necessary because of its importance. Replying to a query, he said if Islamabad wanted to hold talks with Haqqani network or the Taliban, it should inform Washington about the desire.

The US diplomat called for joint action by the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan against the common enemies. He noted that Al-Qaeda was still a threat to both the countries and the US remained in contact with intelligence, civilian and army officials to tackle the issue.

Munter said the war was not a product of the US policies, as terrorists were targeting the citizens and shrines, adding his country would stand side by side with Pakistan.

He declined to discuss the drone strikes, saying, “The ambassador knows many things, but does not speak, just like a journalist who talks too much on issues about which he knows nothing.”

Munter opined the Pak-US relations would remain intact even after the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, adding their main interest would be the issues, which could strengthen the association. “We will strive to maintain people-to-people contacts. We want social relations,” he remarked, while describing the children as the real future of Pakistan.

Talking about the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Munter said the US had reservations over the project, adding the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline was a better option.