ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday lifted the lid on the threatening letter and said it ‘came from the US.’
The PM's revelation sparked a debate on mainstream and social media if it was deliberate or if it was a slip of the tongue on the part of the prime minister speaking live on television. He said it loud and clear that he would not resign come what may, adding the nation would see on Sunday the faces of those lawmakers who would vote against him.
In his address to the nation at a time when he has lost majority in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Imran Khan started off with his political ideology and reason for his joining the political arena.
He said he wanted to take the nation into confidence on the letter containing evidence of a foreign conspiracy to overthrow his government. He first named the US as the country but quickly corrected himself by saying the letter was from some other country.
He said the message was not against the prime minister but against the people of an independent country. The premier said it was quite obvious that they already knew about the impending no-confidence motion before it was filed, adding it clearly indicated that the opposition was in contact with people abroad.
He said the contents of the letter were directed at him and contained that if the no-trust motion succeeded against him (imran Khan), Pakistan would be forgiven. He said that it was a communication which was recorded against an elected prime minister.
He posed a question to the nation about its status and said Pakistan was a country of 220 million people and ironically another country was threatening it. He termed it naked interference in the affairs of an independent country and unacceptable and said this would be taken up with country concerned and strongly protested.
The prime minister said reason was for issuing threats was that he (Imran Khan) had decided to visit Russia on his own, adding it was untrue as he had consulted the Foreign Office, the military leadership and even former diplomats before undertaking the trip.
He said our ambassador was told that relations could not be good as long as Imran Khan stayed, adding what it actually meant was that they would have no issue with the people who would replace him.
He said he would return stronger no matter what happened on the vote of no-confidence. He said they had no issue with the three `stooges’ because they were their `loyal slaves’ and they knew where their money and properties were.
He said his opponents had graft cases involving billions of rupees against them, adding these are the people through whom the whole conspiracy has been hatched.
The premier said he would not tolerate those badmouthing his army chief. He referred to Nawaz Sharif who, he said, had not uttered a word when India had branded then Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif as a terrorist. Instead, he said, Nawaz was meeting Indian premier Modi behind the scene and inviting him to marriage ceremonies.
He said he had always wanted to pursue an independent foreign policy and since entering politics 25 years ago he never compromised on his stance. He said he was neither anti-US nor anti-India he was opposed to their policies.
He said he had opposed the decision of joining the so-called US war on terror during the military era of Gen Pervez Musharraf.
He said despite suffering huge losses being the US ally in its war in Afghanistan, the US did not acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices.
Earlier, the National Security Committee (NSC) in its 37th meeting expressed concern at the ‘threatening letter’ and decided that Pakistan would issue a strong demarche to the country in question both in Islamabad and its capital in line with diplomatic norms.
The forum noted that the communication amounted to blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan by the country in question and it was unacceptable under any circumstances.
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) at the Prime Minister's House. The meeting was attended by federal ministers of defence, energy, information and broadcasting, interior, finance, human rights, planning, development and special initiatives, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, services chiefs, National Security Adviser and senior officers.
The National Security adviser briefed the committee on the formal communication of a senior official of a foreign country to Pakistan’s ambassador in the said country in a formal meeting, which was duly conveyed by the ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The committee expressed grave concern over the communication, terming the language used by the foreign official undiplomatic.
The participants in the meeting also endorsed the decision taken in the special cabinet meeting held on March 30, 2022 under the prime minister to take parliament into confidence through an in-camera briefing of the National Security Committee of the Parliament.
Meanwhile, in a late night development, the Foreign Office summoned US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Snelsire and handed him a demarche to protest the alleged attempt to interfere in Pakistan’s politics and unseat Prime Minister Khan, sources said.
The development came following an address to the nation by the prime minister and an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee to prepare a response to the alleged US intervention.
US embassy officials in Islamabad did not respond to a request for comments. A spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that as a follow-up of the meeting of the National Security Committee the requisite demarches had been made through diplomatic channels.
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