PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Monday called on the United States to dismiss Donald Lu, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, for “bad manners and sheer arrogance as he “threatened” Pakistan.

Lu is the central figure in Imran’s claims about a US-backed regime change conspiracy that toppled his government through a no-confidence motion. The PTI chairman accuses Lu of threatening Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, that a failure to remove Imran through a no-confidence vote would herald “consequences” for Pakistan and vice versa.

In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, former prime minister Imran said the US diplomat told Pakistan’s ambassador that unless “you get Imran Khan removed in a vote of no-confidence, which was not tabled but he seemed to know about it, Pakistan will suffer consequences.”

“… of course, if you get rid of him through the vote of no-confidence, all will be forgiven, such arrogance […] by the way Becky, this guy should be sacked for bad manners and sheer arrogance,” said Imran.

“Imagine telling the ambassador of a country of 220 million people that you get rid of your prime minister,” he added.

The PTI chairman said he presented the cypher before the federal cabinet, the National Security Council (NSC), as it was a “blatant interference in Pakistan’s affairs”.

When asked whether he got in touch with US President Joe Biden or other officials, Imran said the NSC had decided to issue a demarche and protest to the US in Pakistan as well.

He mentioned that President Arif Alvi had also asked Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to hold an inquiry into the matter.

Replying to a question, he said he had a “perfectly good” relationship with the Donald Trump administration, and it was only when Joe Biden came into power that the relations became strained.

“… for some reason, which I still don’t know, they (Biden administration) never got in touch with me; there was no US ambassador in Pakistan, I had no idea,” Imran said.

To a question about Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s stance on Pak-US relations and whether Imran believed that a good bilateral relationship was in Pakistan’s interest, he responded: “I had a perfectly good relationship with the Trump administration. It’s only when the Biden administration came, 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.”

The PTI chairman noted that his first priority was the people of Pakistan, and he aspired to import oil from Russia, but for “some reason, this was used against me as if I was being anti-US”.

Giving reasons as to why he believes Washington was behind the regime change, Imran said that the US embassy was calling members of his party, “some of the backbenchers”, who were not happy. “Why were they meeting them?” he questioned, adding that they were the first ones who then jumped ships.

“Why would the US embassy be interested in the backbenchers of our party?” he said.

Replying to a question regarding the current government being an “American replant”, he said: “It’s with their blessing […] we all call them imported government but the worst thing is they are a bunch of criminals. Sixty percent of the cabinet is on bail.”

Regarding him being in Moscow on the day Russia announced war in Ukraine, the former premier reiterated that his visit was planned a long time ago and all the stakeholders in Pakistan were on board — the military wanted a hard way from the Russians, the government wanted oil — hence, everything was planned a long time ago.

“How would I know that the day I land in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin would decide to go into Ukraine.

“I would regret the trip to Russia if we had known about the invasion and then I [had] gone in because I do not believe in military solutions,” he said while replying to a question about whether he regretted his trip to Russia or not.

“I do not believe in military solutions and I have opposed all military ways of achieving political ends,” he said.

Speaking about the next elections: “Whenever the next elections take place not only we will run but I can predict right now that this will become the biggest party in Pakistan’s history because the people are so incensed and feel insulted that these criminals are being forced on his who have been plundering the country for 30 years.

“There is anger in Pakistan and unfortunately because of this becoming public […] there is anti-Americanism. When unpopular governments are fostered on the people the resentment then goes to the US. And unfortunately, yes there is anti-Americanism in Pakistan,” the former prime minister said.


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