Pak NSC holds meet over ‘threat letter'

Agencies | , Islamabad
Apr 01, 2022 04:56 AM IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is facing no-trust vote, has, in recent days, claimed there is a ‘foreign conspiracy’ to oust his government.

Pakistan’s top security body on Thursday decided to issue a strong demarche to an unnamed country over a “threatening letter”, which Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed is evidence of a foreign conspiracy to oust his government - and expressed concern at the undiplomatic communication and “interference” in the country’s internal affairs.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (File Photo)
Pakistan PM Imran Khan (File Photo)

PM Khan chaired the 37th meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) at Prime Minister’s House to discuss a controversial letter sent by the Pakistan ambassador in that country, which according to PM Khan threatened to remove him from office. He claimed that it had been sent to the ministry of foreign affairs.

Also Read | Is the end near? Imran Khan’s options fade

The meeting was attended by federal ministers of defence, energy, information and broadcasting, interior, finance, human rights, planning, development and special initiatives, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, services chiefs, national security adviser and senior officers.

“The committee expressed grave concern at the communication, terming the language used by the foreign official as undiplomatic,” according to the statement. “The committee concluded that the communication amounted to blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan by the country in question, which was unacceptable under any circumstances.”

The NSC decided that the protest should be launched with that country. It did not name the country.

Also Read | Imran blames ‘foreign hand’, says he’ll fight till the last ball

“The committee decided that Pakistan will issue a strong demarche to the country in question both in Islamabad and in the country’s capital through proper channel in keeping with diplomatic norms,” according to the statement.

The participants also endorsed the cabinet’s decision in the special cabinet meeting held on March 30 to take the parliament into confidence through an in-camera briefing of the National Security Committee of the Parliament.

The meeting comes a day after Khan shared some content of a letter - purportedly showing evidence of a foreign conspiracy to oust his government - with his cabinet members and a selected group of journalists. Several opposition leaders had asked Khan to divulge the details of the letter.

Also Read | On foreign power against him, Imran Khan names US in TV address

Besieged by the opposition and abandoned by coalition partners, Khan faces the greatest challenge so far in his political career. The opposition accuses him of economic mismanagement and claims he is unfit for the role of prime minister.

In recent days, Khan has turned to conspiracy theories to explain the challenge to his rule and has gone on national television to claim the opposition is in cahoots with a foreign government — a reference to the United States — to unseat him.

Khan’s often-stated opposition to Washington’s so-called ‘war in terror” as well as the US-led invasion of Afghanistan has brought him popularity at home.

He has tried to reach out to Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, fostered close ties to China and Russia and abstained from the UN Security Council vote condemning Russian for invading Ukraine.

Madiha Afzal, a fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution blamed Khan’s political woes on his confrontational style and a cooling of relations between him and the powerful military, widely reported to have assisted Khan’s election victory in 2018.

Pakistan’s army has been the country’s de facto ruler more than half of its 75-year history — even when governments are democratically elected, the military maintains considerable control from behind the scenes, despite their claims of neutrality.

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