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Monday February 06, 2023

Sent by Pak envoy, letter records ‘talk with US official’

The letter is the word-for-word transcript of official conversation between the diplomats of Pakistan and another powerful country sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

March 31, 2022
Prime Minister shows threat letter to the public during the Islamabad rally on Sunday. -Geo News screengrab
Prime Minister shows "threat letter" to the public during the Islamabad rally on Sunday. -Geo News screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday shared contents of a secret letter that has been talk of the town since March 27 when he informed a public meeting that his government had received threats from abroad.

The PM had said the threatening letter had been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had said the letter could not be made public but it could be shown off the record to the one doubting its veracity.

Pressed by the opposition and various other quarters, the prime minister eventually shared certain contents of the letter and its meaning in his meeting with journalists, but withheld the original letter and its word-for-word contents.

The journalists were informed that the letter is neither written by any country to Pakistan, nor is it any Pakistani diplomat’s analysis. The letter is the word-for-word transcript of official conversation between the diplomats of Pakistan and another powerful country sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Federal Minister Asad Umar told the journalists that Pakistan has been given a message that “everything would be forgiven” if the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan succeeds, but its failure would entail serious consequences for Pakistan.

Umar clarified that what he has stated is the meaning of the letter’s contents, which the government cannot disclose word for word under the Official Secrets Act.

The PM asked journalists to clear their doubts about the letter for it is real, and words used in it are harsher than one can imagine. He said he cannot disclose the name of the country because of diplomatic compulsions and legal constraints. The PM said the letter has been shared with the cabinet and it would also be taken up in the in-camera session of the parliament.

The Pakistani diplomat was told that the western countries were not satisfied with Pakistan’s stand on the issue of Ukraine. Some leaders of these countries believe that Pakistan’s approach towards Ukraine crisis is in fact Imran Khan’s own policy, not State’s. The Pakistani diplomat tried to convince them that it was the other way round.

When Asad Umar told journalists that the western countries are more annoyed at the PM’s visit of Russia, the prime minister said he had consulted with the military leadership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and some former diplomats before embarking on the Russia tour. All of them supported the visit, he said, adding that even after the visit, the military leadership affirmed the decision to visit Russia was apt.

When the Pakistani diplomat, in his interaction with the foreign diplomat, stressed the need for maintaining contacts, he was told the result of no-confidence vote would determine the nature of future bilateral contacts.

Despite repeated questions by journalists, the PM refused to name the country whose officials issued the threat. To a question about putting up the letter before the national security community, the PM said the letter would be taken up before parliament’s in-camera session, and added that various options for legal action on this threat are also being considered.

Asad Umar clarified that only the certain contents, not the original letter, would be shared with the parliament. The PM said that it would become difficult for the members to vote against him, otherwise they would become part of the global conspiracy.

The PM, despite key allies having ditched him, was confident that chances of his success are “80 per cent today and would be 100 per cent on Sunday”. He said 100,000 people would be present outside the parliament on Sunday.

When asked why the western states were annoyed with his government, the PM said he is not against any western country, but some opposition leaders incite foreign diplomats.

The PM said that while his Russia visit was very successful, the Ukrainian president, in his interaction over the phone, expressed his desire that Pakistan should mediate in the dispute with Russia.

Rana Ghulam Qadir adds: The secret letter’s contents were tabled before the federal cabinet on Wednesday. According to sources, the former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, sent the secret letter to the Foreign Office after his meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. The PM apprised the cabinet members of the contents of the letter, which was then sealed under the Official Secret Act, the sources added. 

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