Saturday, April 23, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan Saturday claimed he was right all along and the National Security Committee's (NSC) latest statement proves that there was a US conspiracy to remove him from office.
Khan, addressing his first press conference after his removal from office via a no-confidence motion, said the NSC meeting — with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair — endorsed that the cable was genuine and that Pakistan's ex-ambassador to the US held a meeting with American official Donald Lu, where the latter used undiplomatic language.
"I will go a step forward and say that he (Donald Lu) was arrogant [...] the Joe Biden administration official told our ambassador that Imran Khan will have to be removed through a no-confidence motion," the PTI chairman said, adding that the meeting took place before the no-trust motion was filed.
The PTI chairman's presser came after the NSC ruled out a foreign conspiracy behind the ouster of the former government in a setback to Khan's narrative of a "regime change conspiracy".
"The NSC, after examining the contents of the communication, reaffirmed the decision of the last NSC meeting. The NSC was again informed by the premier security agencies that they have found no evidence of any conspiracy," a statement from the PM's Office said.
But reiterating his claim, Khan said the US official told Pakistan's ambassador that everything would be forgiven for Islamabad if he was removed from office.
Khan said following Lu's meeting with the Pakistani envoy, the PTI allies started "realising" that the country's situation was not ideal and that the then-government needed to be removed from power.
"But let me tell you, our economic situation was very good [...] our exports, remittances, tax collection, agricultural output, and the price of agricultural products were all historic," he said.
This has also been confirmed — after the new NSC statement — that the political heads and some of our allies were unaware that they were part of a foreign conspiracy, the PTI chairman said.
Khan said although some people here were unaware of the "conspiracy", the person sitting in London, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, his brother Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari were all part of it.
"They were all hand-in-hand in this conspiracy," he said.
Moving on, the PTI chairman appealed to the Supreme Court to investigate the cable from the United States and hold an open hearing as if the apex court fails to do so, then no prime minister would be able to stand firm against conspiracies and threats.
"It (Supreme Court) should do now what it did not do earlier — probe the cable [...] even former president Gen Pervez Musharraf decided to follow the instructions just because of a threat. Therefore, it is imperative that the court probe this cable," the ex-premier said.
Khan said once the apex court investigates the cable, it will come to light that then-Opposition leaders and PTI members met foreign diplomats often — in the days up to the no-confidence motion.
"How did a media campaign start against my government? I knew what was happening as I was getting reports," the PTI chairman said.
Khan said he was surprised that the top court was not hearing the case on an urgent basis. "Does this issue not warrant the court's immediate attention?"
The PTI chairman told the top court that it was imperative that it hold consistent hearings on Article 63(A) as it was crucial for the country's future.
"...if these people — who changed loyalties — are set free, then doors for people who sell their conscience will be easily opened. They will take the money and also become part of conspiracies," he said.
In response to a question, the premier said anyone saying that such language is a norm in diplomatic conversations was lying.
"They are the biggest liars who say that such language is used in diplomatic conversations. Even a small country like New Zealand is not spoken to in such a manner," he said.
The PTI chairman also demanded Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja resign from office as Pakistan's "biggest political party" did not have confidence in him anymore.
"He takes all the decisions against us, and since we do not trust him anymore, he cannot remain the umpire," he said.
Lashing out at the incumbent government, he said PM Shehbaz and his sons had to answer to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for Rs40 billion that you accumulated through corruption.
"...but now he has changed the (DG FIA)," Khan said, implying that the PM was aiming to get an easy way out. He claimed that 70% of the federal cabinet was on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The ex-prime minister also announced that he had instructed his party to start working at the ground level for the "actual independence march" towards Islamabad, but noted he would announce a date later.
Khan said a sea of people would march toward Islamabad as he had never seen "such awareness" in the people, and citing a reason for the awareness, he shed light on his rallies held after his removal from office.