Saturday July 13, 2024

KP govt claims to take up ‘US interference’ issue with ambassador

Taimur Saleem Jhagra says CM KPK raised the issue of US interference in a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with Donald Blome

By Arshad Aziz Malik
August 11, 2022
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Bloom calls on CM KPK Mahmood Khan at the CM Office. —APP/File
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Bloom calls on CM KPK Mahmood Khan at the CM Office. —APP/File

PESHAWAR: After severe criticism and receiving aid, the KP government has claimed to raise the issue of US conspiracy during the recent visit of the US ambassador to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Provincial Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra confirmed the meeting and said that there was a 10-minute one-on-one meeting between Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Ambassador Donald Blome in which the US interference and other issues were raised diplomatically, but he refrained from giving further details. He also declined to comment on the US ambassador’s reaction.

“The American ambassador had expressed his desire to visit the province and meet the chief minister. The meeting was planned with the permission of the party chairman. We knew that the two meetings, with the CM and with me would create a media controversy. However, after detailed deliberations, it was decided that optics should not dictate critical actions, and the said meetings were rightly arranged” Taimur said.

During the one-on-one meeting with the American ambassador, the CM registered a formal protest against the US conspiracy against the previous government of Imran Khan, credible sources confirmed.

However, the spokesperson of the US Embassy declined to divulge the details of the conversation between the Chief Minister and Ambassador Donald Bloom. “Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on private diplomatic meetings. Even off the record, I don’t have anything I can give you”, he said.

According to the sources, The chief minister raised three points, including the issue of US interference against the Imran Khan government, on which a formal protest was registered. Mahmood Khan told the US ambassador that the PTI wants to maintain relations with the US government on an equal basis but there should be no interference in Pakistan’s affairs. The US Embassy held meetings with dissident PTI members, which was highly inappropriate. He added that the KP government was grateful to the US government for its cooperation in the province.

He said Imran Khan’s stance on relations with the US was clearly communicated by CM. Multiple times during Imran Khan’s campaign in the last few months he has made this clear, we are not against any country, but we must make our decisions ourselves, independently.

“The second meeting was about USAID’s longstanding support to KP health, which we value. The entire theme of the engagement on health was that we are now at a stage where we value the support of development partners, but as partners, and on our agenda”, he said

Jhagra said there is a big difference between government-to-government cooperation and developing bilateral partnerships based on mutual self-respect, all of which we believe in - and know-towing to interests that do not serve Pakistan or compromise our self-respect. Our stance was and is clear.