‘Won’t tolerate foreign interference in internal affairs,’ Imran Khan’s party tells US

The PTI leader said that he told the US ambassador that they wanted the rule of law in the country as it would bring investment.

Islamabad: Jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party on Monday claimed to have told the US ambassador in Pakistan that they would not tolerate foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs, according to a media report on Monday.

PTI secretary general Omar Ayub Khan headed a four-member delegation, also comprising party chairman Gohar Ali Khan, Asad Qaiser and Raoof Hasan, that met with US envoy Donald Blome in Islamabad on Monday, Geo News reported.

The PTI leader said the US ambassador, through the Foreign Office, requested for the meeting.

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PTI Secretary General Khan said they told the US ambassador that the party would not tolerate foreign interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

The statement assumes significance as PTI founder Imran Khan, who is lodged in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail after his conviction in various cases, had earlier blamed Washington for overthrowing his government in April 2022.

The 71-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote which he alleged was engineered by the US by colluding with the then-opposition parties.

The cipher controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Khan — less than a month before his ouster in April 2022 — while addressing a public rally waved a letter before the crowd, claiming that it was a cipher (secret diplomatic message) from a foreign nation that had conspired with his political rivals to topple the PTI government.

Khan had alleged that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal in a meeting with the then Pakistan ambassador to US Asad Majeed, the report said.

However, Lu rubbished the PTI founder’s cipher “conspiracy theory” and called it a “complete falsehood”.

After months of allegations, the ousted prime minister turned his guns towards former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, holding him responsible for the “conspiracy” which resulted in his ouster, the report said.

Talking to journalists after today’s meeting with the US ambassador, Omar, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, said: “Matters related to military courts and cases against the PTI founder and other leaders of the party were discussed with the US envoy.”

In January this year, a special court established under the Official Secrets Act handed down 10 years imprisonment to the PTI founder and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the high-profile cypher case.

Omar said that he apprised the US ambassador that cases against their women supporters and workers were being tried in the military courts.

Matters related to the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution in the country were also discussed during the meeting.

“We have repeatedly said that these are Pakistan’s internal issues.”

The PTI leader said that he told the US ambassador that they wanted the rule of law in the country as it would bring investment.

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