US State Department spokesperson Mark C Toner said the US was concerned about the "human rights situation" there and had "reported it for several years in our Human Rights Report".

He made the remarks while responding to a question about Pakistan Army's oppression in Pakistan-held Kashmir and Balochistan, during a press briefing. Toner also said the US had always urged Pakistan to work out differences in its region peacefully and through a political process.


"We've obviously - are always urging all parties in Pakistan to work out their differences peaceably and through a valid political process," Toner said. He also said that Pakistan was well aware of the US policy on the Kashmir issue.


Also Read: PM Modi Pokes Pakistan In His Independence Day Speech, Rakes Up Balochistan And PoK

Earlier, during his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came out openly in support of "freedom" for Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. "I want to speak a bit about the people in Balochistan, Gilgit, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The world is watching. People of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me a lot in the past few days. I am grateful to them," PM  Modi had said.

Also Read: Pakistan Terms PM Modi's Remarks On Balochistan, PoK And Gilgit As Diversionary Tactics

US Slams Pakistan For Crackdown On MQM Leaders

A day after Pakistan charged Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain with treason for his inflammatory speech, the US has said in a democracy, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced.

Also Read: Finally, Pakistan Does It. Balochistan Leaders Booked For Supporting PM Narendra Modi

"I would just say in a democratic society, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced. We believe that democracies become stronger by allowing free expression from diverse voices within society and we would certainly emphasise that any expression must be peaceful," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said.

Responding to a question on arrest of MQM leaders, he said the US is always concerned when members of a political party are detained or arrested.

Also Read: Omar Abdullah Denounces PM Modi’s Remark On Balochistan

"We obviously uphold the importance and believe in the importance of public assembly, freedom of speech, as long as it's peaceful. We would emphasise that any kind of protest, any kind of demonstrations would need to be conducted peacefully. So I think we're still assessing, gathering information about what took place. And we'll reserve further comment until that time," Toner said.

(With agency inputs)

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