The warm tone of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement appeared to signal a desire to mend ties damaged by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s harsh anti-American rhetoric and his unproven accusations that Washington staged its dismissal.

“Pakistan has been an important partner for far-reaching mutual interests for nearly 75 years and we value our relationship,” Blinken said. “The United States congratulates newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and we look forward to continuing our longstanding cooperation.”

“The United States views a strong, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan as essential to the interests of both our countries,” he added.

Blinken’s statement came two days after Western-friendly Sharif, 70, was sworn in after days of political unrest that led to Khan’s dismissal in Pakistan’s first no-confidence vote since independence from the Britain in 1947.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former interior minister Sheikh Rashid acknowledged on Wednesday that there were tensions between the mighty military and former prime minister Imran Khan. Rashid, leader of his Awami Muslim League (AML), had been a strong supporter of Khan as a minister and ally, and referred to Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf “misunderstandings”: with the military establishment in the wake of his eviction.

A social media campaign against the armed forces and its leaders has been quite active, and slogans critical of the military were also chanted during protests on Sunday after the success of the no-confidence motion. No slogan should be raised against the army,” he said before a key.

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