Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has demanded that Donald Lu, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, be fired for his sheer arrogance and terrible manners. According to Dawn, Khan’s interview with CNN, the deposed PM accused the American diplomat of threatening Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, as he doubled down on his assertion of a foreign plot behind the regime change.
According to the head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Lu has threatened consequences if the Pakistan National Assembly fails to oust Imran through a no-confidence vote. Khan further alleged that the threat set off a series of events that led to his removal and the conspirators joining forces to begin their plot. ‘Imagine telling the ambassador of a country of 220 million people that you get rid of your Prime Minister’, Imran Khan said in the 23-minute interview aired on the American television show.
Imran Khan also remarked on Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s attitude toward Pakistan-US ties, ‘I had a perfectly good relationship with the Trump administration. It’s only when the Biden administration came, that it coincided with what was happening in Afghanistan and for some reason — which I still don’t know — they never got in touch with me’.
When CNN’s Becky Anderson questioned Khan whether he really believed in his foreign conspiracy notion to destabilise his administration, Khan responded that the US embassy had been phoning and meeting dissatisfied PTI members even before Lu and Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the US met.
‘What were they meeting [US officials] for? They were the first ones to jump ship and they were the ones who then offered million dollars each to buy my other MNAs who jumped ship later on’, Khan said, adding, ‘Why would the US embassy be interested in our party backbenchers?’
The former PM also defended his visit to Russia during the conflict in Ukraine, claiming that the trip had been planned for a long time and all Pakistani stakeholders were on board. ‘The military wanted Russian hardware, we wanted oil, there was a gas pipeline which was being negotiated for the past six years before my government came in… how would I have known that the day I land in Moscow, President [Vladimir] Putin would decide to go into Ukraine?’
Khan’s interview takes place in the midst of PTI supporters’ calls for an early general election this year.