Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is fighting to stay in power ahead of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, has claimed that a ‘foreign’ nation is involved in toppling his government.
In a live televised address to the nation on Thursday, Imran Khan claimed that the United States “threatened” him and added that the US is seeking his removal as he faces a no-confidence vote next week.
Khan had claimed at a rally he had a letter that showed a foreign country was conspiring against him and his political opponents working at its behest. He had claimed that a “foreign conspiracy letter” was accessed by senior journalists and cabinet members, which as per Khan, was authentic. He claimed the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against him as a testimony of a “foreign-funded” move to topple his government.
Last week, speaking at another event, Imran Khan had also claimed the united opposition had joined the west, especially the US, to remove him from power through a no-confidence vote. He had referred to PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari as “three stooges”.
Reportedly, the ‘foreign-conspiracy’ letter was sent to the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States of America, Asad Mujeed, based on his meeting with the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu.
Senior Pakistani diplomats have said that the letter could be the diplomatic cable from Washington. “The contents of the letter, apparently, are based on informal discussions between Pakistani and other officials,” a Pakistani diplomat was quoted as saying.
Abdul Basit, a former diplomat, said that the so-called threatening letter was a diplomatic assessment from Pakistan’s US ambassador and not a threat from the US government.
“The contents, if correct, show a set of friendly officials from various countries indulging in some loud-thinking and probing. Nothing more. The purpose behind such cables is to keep your government informed. It’s no sign of a conspiracy against a government or a personality,” another diplomatic source was quoted as saying.
US rejects Imran Khan’s allegations, says no letter sent
Following the allegations by Imran Khan, the US government has categorically rejected any involvement in the vote of no-confidence and said Pakistan PM’s allegations as baseless.
On Wednesday, the United States denied reports of any specific message being delivered to Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States and said that no US government agency had sent a letter to Pakistan on the current political situation in the country.
“There is no truth to these allegations,” said the US State Department spokesperson responding to the question regarding the alleged ‘letter’.
Imran Khan’s speech had come at a time when he has virtually lost the majority in the 342-member National Assembly after the defection of two key allies. Although the Pakistani parliament is adjourned till Sunday without debate on the no-trust motion, observers believe that the path ahead for Khan might be grim, and he may soon be deposed from the office.
The PTI-led coalition government was formed with the support of 179 members, but with MQM-P withdrawing, Imran Khan’s party is left with 164 members in support. The united opposition has now 177 supporters in the national assembly, and they do not need the support of PTI lawmakers.