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December 16, 2011

Imran meets Munter, Raphel at PTI secretariat


December 16, 2011

ISLAMABAD: It was an extremely insecure Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who met the American Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter and former ambassador Robin Raphel at the PTI central secretariat in Islamabad on Thursday, on his own, with not a single senior member of his party present. Raphael is a senior adviser to Mark Grossman, Special Representative of US President on Pakistan-Afghanistan, and she came with Munter and two other senior US officials.
What was it that Khan did not want to share with his party seniors? In almost a dictatorial fashion, Khan was reluctant to include anyone from the PTI in the meeting just like the past leaders, specially Pervez Musharraf, where there is no record anywhere about his various meetings with the world leaders as he kept everyone out, including the note taker.
When Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood was asked by The News, he replied that he was in Lahore and was unaware as to who was in the meeting and it was possible that Imran Khan, who returned late to Islamabad on Wednesday night, did not have enough time to gather a team around him.
But central vice president on foreign policy and security issues, Dr Shireen Mazari when asked that since this was her area and why she did not accompany Khan, said, “I did approach the chairman if I was expected to attend, but he clearly said that only he would represent the PTI.”
Spokesman at the US Embassy Mark E Stroh told The News that Robin Raphel was meeting Khan in her new capacity as special adviser and “It was a regular diplomatic engagement.” Maybe Khan can take a lesson from Nawaz Sharif who can be seen with a strong team whenever foreign dignitaries call on him, especially western leaders and officials. Ambassador Tariq Fatimi is always present to take notes on the occasion.
Khan emerged in politics after 15 years with no known face around him, till of late when those who were already well known in their own fields, joined

him and some form of recognition has come to the PTI.
So will Pakistanis now have to rely on WikiLeaks to know what transpired at the PTI central secretariat on Thursday? “Mr Khan does not believe in saying one thing in public and another in private. This has been the practice of many others as the recent disclosures in WikiLeaks showed. All the meetings of Mr Imran Khan and whatever he says are and will always remain the public domain,” Shafqat said in a statement.
He said that Khan reiterated his long stated stance that the problem of terrorism Pakistan faces today is because of its partnership in the American war in Afghanistan. He said that while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf believes in having good relations with all countries, including the United States, it strongly believes that this partnership cannot be at the cost of Pakistan’s national interests. If the US wants friendship with the people of Pakistan, it should stop violating its sovereignty through drone attacks and other incursions inside its territory.
Mr Imran Khan also strongly condemned the unprovoked attack on the Sallala outposts in which 24 Pakistani soldiers embraced Shahadat. Other matters of ‘mutual interest’ in the region were also discussed. What matters of ‘mutual interest’? Wait for the WikiLeaks!

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