Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the sacking of US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, Donald Lu for his “sheer arrogance and bad manners”. The ousted PM accused the American diplomat of threatening Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Asad Majeed as he doubled down on his claim of “foreign conspiracy” behind the regime change, Dawn reported citing Khan’s interview with CNN.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman alleged that Lu had warned of “consequences” if Pakistan National Assembly fails to remove Imran through a no-confidence vote. Khan also claimed the threat triggered a chain of events that resulted in his ouster and the conspirators joining to launch their conspiracy.
“Imagine telling the ambassador of a country of 220 million people that you get rid of your Prime Minister,” Imran Khan said in the 23-minute interview aired on American television show.
Referring to Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s stance on Pak-US relations, Imran Khan said, “I had a perfectly good relationship with the Trump administration. It’s only when the Biden administration came, that it coincided with what was happening in Afghanistan and for some reason — which I still don’t know — they never got in touch with me.
When CNN’s Becky Anderson asked Khan if he “genuinely” believed in his foreign conspiracy theory to topple his government, the PTI chairman said that the US embassy was calling and meeting disgruntled PTI members even before the meeting between Lu and Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the US.
“What were they meeting [US officials] for? They were the first ones to jump ship and they were the ones who then offered million dollars each to buy my other MNAs who jumped ship later on,” he added. “Why would the US embassy be interested in our party backbenchers?”
The former prime minister also defended his Russia visit amid the war on Ukraine, saying the visit was planned long back and all stakeholders in Pakistan were onboard.
“The military wanted Russian hardware, we wanted oil, there was a gas pipeline which was being negotiated for the past six years before my government came in … how would I have known that the day I land in Moscow, President [Vladimir] Putin would decide to go into Ukraine?”
Khan’s interview comes amid protests from PTI supporters calling for an early general election this year.
(With ANI inputs)