Is the US Really Trying to Oust Pakistan PM Imran Khan?

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Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, has stated that a foreign conspiracy is underway to destabilize his administration ahead of a no-confidence vote.

Is the US Really Trying to Oust Pakistan PM Imran Khan?

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, has stated that a foreign conspiracy is underway to destabilize his administration ahead of a no-confidence vote.

Khan mentioned a “letter” from a “foreign power” as “evidence” of the conspiracy in a public rally on Sunday.

Pakistan’s center-right prime minister accused the country’s opposition parties of working with the West to depose him.  “We’ve been threatened in writing, but we won’t compromise on national interests,” he added, declining to name the country.

In accordance with the national security legislation, Khan discussed the claimed document with certain local media on Wednesday but did not reveal it to them.

“The letter is quite serious and threatening,” Fawad Chaudhry, the Information Minister, told DW.

Khan claims foreign meddling in the no-confidence vote. According to Khan’s supporters, the US is attempting to undermine the administration.

The US State Department has refuted the accusations, stating that “these claims are baseless.”

Analysts believe Khan is attempting to sway public opinion against the opposition by blaming the West.

“Bringing foreign policy into the public might have terrible consequences. The government’s stance on this issue is detrimental to Pakistan,” Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India and former ambassador to Germany, Abdul Basit said.

Abdul Basit said foreign officials are not allowed to make statements against other nations or their governments, according to diplomatic conventions.

Khan is facing his biggest political test in his three-and-a-half-year-long tenure as prime minister, with many members of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and key coalition allies backing a no-confidence vote in parliament on April 4.

Opposition parties accuse Khan of mishandling the economy and repressing political opponents and civil society activists. Inflation and unemployment have risen dramatically since Khan assumed power in 2018.

Analysts think that regardless of the outcome of the no-confidence vote, Pakistan would have early elections, and Khan believes that using anti-US rhetoric will help him reclaim power if the country has early elections.

“I’d be shocked if a foreign government with so much at stake in Pakistan these days that would be ready to coordinate an attempt to depose Khan,” Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington said.

“One may debate the US’s previous interventions, but given its current workload, it seems improbable that it will suddenly attach special importance to Pakistan’s internal affairs,” he added.

A “normal diplomatic cable is being utilized as a political tool,” according to Mosharraf Zaidi, a Pakistani political expert, in a bid to save Khan’s administration.

“The prime minister has clearly chosen an anti-Western approach for the next elections,” he concluded.

Last month, Khan paid a visit to Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day that Russia attacked Ukraine. Khan has been portraying himself to his supporters as an “anti-West” leader who has the courage to face up to “imperialist” states.

“Khan’s recent aggressive anti-Western remarks are certain to have irked a number of countries. The fact that Khan’s administration is now implying that the US is seeking regime change in Pakistan will not go down well in Washington,” Kugelman said.

“I’m sure the Pakistani military is displeased with this messaging as well. The generals appear to be more enthusiastic about the prospect of a long-term alliance with the United States than the civilian leadership “Added he.

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