Saturday, July 2 2022

Islamabad has summoned its acting US envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu, to formally condemn its language regarding the upcoming vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan, a Pakistani Foreign Ministry official confirmed on Friday.

Lu reportedly told the Pakistani ambassador to the United States that “relations with Pakistan cannot improve” as long as Khan is in power. Should the former cricket star be ousted in the vote of no confidence, the country would be ‘forgiven for its mistakes’, local media reported.

Khan’s government opted to make a ‘strong move’ to the United States in exchange for his threatening remarks after the prime minister consulted his national security committee on Thursday on the issue, which they denounced as ‘blatant interference’. in the internal affairs of Pakistan” by a foreign country. .

Although the committee’s initial statement did not publicly reveal that the “foreign country” in question was the United States, Khan let slip during a televised speech that evening that the “foreign country” [he couldn’t] name” was, in fact, “America”. He claimed to have received a briefing letter from Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States which included a recording from a senior Washington official suggesting that relations between the United States and Pakistan would improve if Khan was overthrown. during the vote of no confidence.

“They say ‘our anger will evaporate if Imran Khan loses this vote of no confidence,'” Khan said in his speech after appearing to reveal that “they” were Washington.

While the opening debates on the no-confidence vote were scheduled for Thursday, the vice-president of the Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) suspended the procedure for a technicality, which means that the next attempt to launch the process will probably take place at the next meeting of parliament on Sunday.

However, the PTI remains outnumbered, with several members having defected to the two main rival parties over the issue of the vote of no confidence.

Khan also claimed at a rally last week that a ‘foreign-backed plot’ was behind the decision to oust him, noting he was financially backed by millions of dollars in foreign currency foreign countries and that “our people are being used”. The prime minister suggested it was his refusal to join the United States and NATO in condemning the Russian military operation in Ukraine that sparked the plot.

Adding credence to his claim, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry revealed on Friday that the country’s security agencies reported a plot to assassinate Khan, the second such claim this week. PTI leader Faisal Vawda previously claimed that Khan’s refusal to “sell the country” was behind the attempt to have him killed.

The vote of no confidence stems from a combination of long-standing economic problems and the recent spike in fuel prices triggered by the conflict in Ukraine. There is uncertainty over whether the International Monetary Fund will release the next tranche of a $6 billion bailout package agreed in 2019, as the IMF balked at a grant program Khan introduced to cushion the crisis. impact of soaring oil and gas prices. However, Khan insists that the grants are already being paid for with existing funds.

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