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No consensus on interim PM; scandal hits Pakistan

US ‘pressure’ behind removal of Imran: Report

No consensus on interim PM; scandal hits Pakistan

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, August 10

The naming of a caretaker Prime Minister continued to be a matter of discussion between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Raja Riaz even as another scandal hit Pakistan.

A US-based media organisation published a purported text of a US diplomatic cipher which gave an ultimatum to other players in Pakistan to remove Imran Khan as Prime Minister if Islamabad wished to maintain cordial relations with the West.

Sharif and Raza met for their first meeting to reach a consensus on the name for the caretaker premier with six names stated to be in the running. On Wednesday, Pakistan President Arif Alvi dissolved the Lower House of Parliament after receiving advice to that effect from PM Sharif. The notification was issued on Thursday, dissolving the House with immediate effect. Till the appointment of a caretaker PM, Sharif will play that role.

Meanwhile, the US-based news organisation Intercept has claimed to be in possession of a classified diplomatic cipher which was sent to then PM Imran Khan by Pakistan’s then Ambassador to the US. Imran Khan for months has been claiming that he was removed as PM by a US-led conspiracy after he had taken a neutral stance on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Containing an account of a meeting between US State Department’s Donald Lu and Pakistani envoy Asad Majeed Khan, it says that the former said “all will

be forgiven” if Imran Khan is removed by a no-confidence vote. The next day, the combined Opposition moved such a motion in the National Assembly.

Reacting to the revelation, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US did “express concern privately to the government of Pakistan”

and then “publicly (when) then Prime Minister Imran Khan (went) to Moscow on the very day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan met his wife Bushra Bibi in Attock jail for the first time since he was arrested last week in the Toshakahana case. The former PM and his wife got private time for about an hour.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has moved the Supreme Court seeking to declare the verdict against Imran “null and void”.

‘Massive crime, moment of shame’

Pakistan’s outgoing PM Shehbaz Sharif has said if the news report by an American publication claiming to contain the evidence of a US conspiracy to topple Imran Khan’s government last year is true, it was tantamount to a “massive crime” and “would have been a moment of shame”. “If god forbid this government had come from a US conspiracy, then it would have been a moment of shame for us,” he said.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Pakistan #Shehbaz Sharif


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