MOSCOW: Reacting to reports about a “foreign conspiracy’ to change the regime in Pakistan through a no-confidence motion, Russia on Tuesday slammed Washington for “another attempt of shameless interference” in the internal affairs of Pakistan for its “own selfish purposes”.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation spokesperson Maria Zakharova noted that the ongoing political situation in Pakistan “leaves no doubt” that the US intended to punish “disobedient” Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The statement cited the ruling PTI’s claim, that US Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia Donald Lu called upon the Pakistani ambassador in Washington and subsequently called upon Ambassador Asad Majid to “condemn the balanced reaction of the Pakistani leadership to the events in Ukraine,” as evidence of US involvement.
“Immediately after the announcement of the working visit of Imran Khan to Moscow on February 23-24 this year, the Americans and their Western associates began to exert rude pressure on the prime minister, demanding an ultimatum to cancel the trip,” the statement read.
The spokesperson further noted that when he [PM Imran Khan] nevertheless came to Russia, “US Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia [Donald Lu] called the Pakistani ambassador in Washington and “demanded that the visit be immediately interrupted, which was also rejected.”
Citing Pakistani media, the Russian ministry said that on March 7 this year, in a conversation with the Pakistani ambassador, a high-ranking American official (presumably the same Donald Lu) “sharply condemned the balanced reaction of the Pakistani leadership to the events in Ukraine and made it clear that partnerships with the United States are possible only if Imran Khan is removed from power.”
Zakharova said the further development of the situation “leaves no doubt that the United States decided to punish the disobedient Imran Khan: a group of deputies of the same party of the prime minister suddenly went over to the Opposition and the question of a vote of no-confidence in the head of government was immediately submitted to the Parliament.”
“There is another attempt of shameless US interference in the internal affairs of an independent state for its own selfish purposes, the above facts eloquently testify to this,” the statement read.
“We hope that Pakistani voters will be informed about these circumstances when they come to the elections, which should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly,” it further added.