Imran Khan paying price for ‘disobeying’ US & visiting Moscow, says Russia
Imran Khan had said that a ‘powerful country’ was upset over his visit to Moscow but had backed its ally India which is importing oil from Russia.
Russia has launched an all-out attack on the United States over the political turmoil in Pakistan, saying that prime minister Imran Khan was paying the price for his disobedience to Washington and was being punished for visiting Moscow earlier this year.
“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," news agency PTI quoted Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
“This is another attempt of shameless interference by the US in the internal affairs of an independent state for its own selfish purposes. The above facts eloquently testify to this,” Zakharova said, while accusing Washington of interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan.
Imran Khan met Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 25, the day when Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Khan became the second Pakistani prime minister to visit Russia in the last 23 years, the last being Nawaz Sharif in April 1999. Imran Khan had alleged that the foreign power was upset over his visit to Russia, but it was backing ally India which is importing oil from Russia.
The 69-year-old Pakistani prime minister has alleged a foreign conspiracy was behind the attempts to topple his government, the same reason cited for the dismissal of no-confidence motion by the national assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri on Sunday.
At a meeting in Islamabad, the PTI chief had named US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu as the one involved in the alleged foreign conspiracy. According to Khan, Lu had warned Pakistan ambassador to US Asad Majeed that there would be implications if the prime minister survived the trust vote.
Slapped with sringent sanctions due to the Ukraine invasion, Russia said that the sequence of events left no doubt that Washington had “decided to punish a disobedient Imran Khan,” which also explained why a number of members from Khan’s ruling coalition decided to switch sides before the no-trust vote.
Pakistan president Arif Alvi on Sunday dissolved the assembly on the recommendations of Imran Khan. The move came after the no-confidence motion against the ruling PTI alliance was rejected.