ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the administration stated that its claim of a foreign conspiracy against the prime minister was based on a diplomatic cable obtained from one of the country’s overseas missions.
Prime Minister Imran Khan stated at a rally in Islamabad on Sunday that the opposition’s no-confidence vote against him was the product of a “foreign conspiracy” because of his foreign policies, and that financial support was being sent from overseas to depose him.
He originally refused to disclose particular specifics regarding the threatening letter, but as opponents questioned his story, he eventually complied. Initially, the government promised to share the letter with Pakistan’s chief justice, but subsequently, the prime minister informed his cabinet colleagues of its contents.
Because there is a legal prohibition against sharing confidential papers, a group of journalists were given the minutes of the cabinet meeting during their meeting with the prime minister.
No US government agency or official, according to the State Department, has written to Pakistan.
A Pakistani ambassador was told by a senior USA official of a host country that they had difficulties with Prime Minister Khan’s foreign policy, particularly his visit to Russia and his stance on the continuing Ukrainian war, although no foreign government was mentioned in that discussion.
Countries depended on the outcome of the no-confidence vote that the opposition parties planned to file against the prime minister. The ambassador was told that if Prime Minister Khan survived the no-trust vote, there would be dire consequences.
The cable was apparently received on March 7, a day before the opposition filed a motion of no confidence in the government and demanded a National Assembly session to vote on it.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the cable was issued by Asad Majeed, Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the US, based on his meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu.
Ambassador Majeed has moved to Brussels to begin his new mission, while Ambassador Masood Khan has taken his position.
Following PM Khan’s allegation, Islamabad and Washington have made contradictory statements regarding the meeting between Ambassador Majeed and Lu. According to a senior Pakistani official, the American side’s rhetoric at the meeting was exceptionally hostile. Meanwhile, in private conversations, Americans deny that any specific message was sent to Pakistan’s envoy.
It is known that US President Joe Biden’s administration was apprehensive about Mr Khan’s visit to Moscow, which coincided with the commencement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The US State Department had publicly expressed such concerns, and both parties agree that there was a communication before Mr Khan’s travel to Moscow in which an attempt was made to dissuade him from going.
Later that day, March 1, a group of Western diplomats living in Islamabad released a statement urging the Pakistani government to denounce Russia’s attack on Ukraine and support a UNGA resolution calling on Moscow to end the conflict.
Pakistan then abstained from the UNGA vote, insisting on a peaceful resolution via communication and diplomacy.
The Americans also had a problem with Mr Khan’s foreign policy, according to reports.
According to a handful of Pakistan’s past envoys to the US, American officials seldom issue threats during formal talks, however, their tone varies depending on the occasion.
In bilateral encounters, governments often voice their unhappiness or concern about the behaviour of others.
Even if threats were made in severe cases, they were made in a nuanced manner, according to them, and plausible deniability was maintained. “They will not do it in front of note-takers,” one of them joked.
The two former ambassadors said that the basis of foreign policy had not altered under PM Khan, save that he was more outspoken. As a result, they insisted it was difficult to see why they would have a problem with his stance today, adding that Islamabad had not harmed US interests.
Interestingly, there was no evidence of break-in relations or additional problems until Mr Khan made his threat public.
Uzra Zeya, the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, was in Islamabad last week for the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.
“Bilaterally, Pakistan has a historic relationship with the US, and we felt a regular and organised communication mechanism [was crucial] to promote our bilateral and shared regional objectives,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tweeted after meeting with Ms Zeya.”We are looking forward to honouring the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the United States this year.”
Ambassador Majeed congratulated Mr Lu for attending an embassy function on March 16 on Twitter. Even after the announcement, US officials in Islamabad were not detained.
According to a Western official, it happened because someone had to be blamed for the present political turmoil, and there was no better candidate than the United States.
Meanwhile, the US State Department claimed on Wednesday that no US government agency or person has written to Pakistan about the country’s present political situation.
“There is no truth to these accusations,” a State Department spokeswoman stated in response to questioning from Dawn regarding the supposed letter and US involvement in the no-confidence motion against the PTI administration.
The message might be a diplomatic cable from Washington, prepared by a top Pakistani ambassador, according to certain diplomatic sources in Washington. “According to one diplomatic source, the contents of the letter appear to be based on informal talks between Pakistani and other officials.”
“If the contents are accurate, they depict a group of friendly officials from many nations engaged in some loud thinking and probing. “That’s all there is to it,” the person added.
According to the sources, similar discussions take place often in capital cities throughout the world, and ambassadors frequently disclose the details of such discussions with authorities in their home nations.
“The goal of such cables is to keep your government up to date. Another diplomatic source stated that “It’s hardly evidence of a plot against a government or a person.”