The United States said on Thursday that it backed democratic principles in Pakistan after former prime minister Imran Khan, an outspoken critic of Washington, was slapped with charges.

“We support the peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional and legal principles,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

“The United States values our longstanding cooperation with Pakistan and has always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests,” he said.

He declined to weigh in more specifically on charges against Mr Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary vote in April but hopes to stage a comeback in elections.

Mr Khan was granted interim bail after being slapped with charges by an anti-terrorism court over comments against a judge over the detention of an official in the former prime minister’s party.

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