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US Punishing 'Disobedient' Imran Khan for His Foreign Policy, Says Russian Foreign Ministry

© REUTERS / Akhtar SoomroFILE PHOTO: Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), gestures while addressing his supporters during a campaign meeting ahead of general elections in Karachi, Pakistan, July 4, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), gestures while addressing his supporters during a campaign meeting ahead of general elections in Karachi, Pakistan, July 4, 2018.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.04.2022
President Arif Alvi dissolved Pakistan’s National Assembly on 3 April. The move came minutes after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan’s government after the incumbent leader lost his majority in the assembly. However, the Supreme Court of Pakistan is reviewing the validity of the president's order.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has slammed the United States over its “interference in the internal affairs” of Pakistan, as it sought to back Prime Minister Imran Khan in the snap election scheduled to be held in three months.

“The way the situation has proceeded to develop leaves no doubt that the United States decided to punish Imran Khan for disobedience: a group of deputies from the Prime Minister's party suddenly defected to the opposition and parliament immediately submitted the question of a vote of no-confidence,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement.

Zakharova pointed out that American officials had been exerting “rude pressure” on the Pakistani prime minister and gave him an “ultimatum” to interrupt his visit to Moscow on 23 to 24 February.
“When he did come to [Moscow}, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu summoned Asad Majeed, the Pakistani ambassador to Washington, and demanded that the visit be immediately interrupted, which was also rejected,” she stated.
Zakharova then went on to cite the reported meeting between Majeed and Lu on 7 March. In the meeting, the American official warned the Pakistani envoy of “consequences” if Khan, as Prime Minister, survived the no-confidence motion.
The motion was tabled in the Pakistani National Assembly the next day, on 8 March, by Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistani Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N).
She described the alleged US interference as a "shameless" attempt.

Zakharova also expressed the hope that Pakistani voters were “informed” about these circumstances when they cast their vote at the ballot box in the forthcoming election.

The remarks by the Russian official came a day after the Khan finally named Lu as the American official who had issued a “threatening” letter to Islamabad via Pakistan’s envoy in the US.
Khan revealed this at his residence while addressing a group of lawmakers who are leaving his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party. He said that Joe Biden's administration was unhappy with his trip to Moscow on 24 February, when President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of a special military operation in Ukraine.
Before 3 April, Khan hadn’t revealed the exact details of the “threatening letter”, which he first brandished in front of thousands of people at a public meeting in Islamabad. He dubbed the letter a “foreign conspiracy” to topple his government.
In a live speech televised across Pakistan on 31 March, Prime Minister Khan accused the US of instigating the no-confidence motion against him in order to undermine Islamabad’s “independent foreign policy” under his government.
However, Khan seemed to call out the US inadvertently, as he quickly corrected himself.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan June 4, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.04.2022
Pakistani PM Takes Veiled Dig at US: 'Powerful Nation' Angry With My Moscow Trip, But Backs India
Before his speech, Khan also convened a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), which comprises Pakistan’s political and military leadership. In the meeting, he presented “evidence” of a “foreign conspiracy” to topple his government.
After the NSC meeting, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that it had issued “requisite manoeuvres” of foreign governments through “diplomatic channels”.
Khan has since confirmed that the protest note was handed to the American Embassy in Islamabad over alleged interference in Pakistan’s internal politics.
Although Lu has avoided either confirming or denying the allegations levelled against him by Prime Minister Khan, the White House has rejected claims of having meddled in Pakistani politics.
“We are following developments in Pakistan, and we respect and support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law,” Lu told Indian daily the Hindustan Times in an interview on 2 April.
He was answering a question about his supposed conversation with the Pakistani Ambassador on 7 March.
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