US sought to punish disobedient Imran Khan: Russia

Russia has lambasted “another attempt of shameless interference” by the US in the internal affairs of Pakistan, adding that it sought to punish a “disobedient” Imran Khan, a media report said.

Spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova said Russia had noted that Pakistani President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on Sunday on Khan’s advice as well as the events preceding it, reports Dawn news.

“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,” she said.

“When he nevertheless came to us, (presumable US official Donald Lu) called the Pakistani ambassador in Washington and demanded that the visit be immediately interrupted, which was also rejected,” she stated.

“According to the Pakistani media, on March 7 this year, in a conversation with Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majid, a high-ranking American official sharply condemned the balanced reaction of the Pakistani leadership to the events in Ukraine and made it clear that partnerships with the US are possible only if Imran Khan is removed from power,” Zakharova said.

The Russian official said that further development of the situation left no doubt that the US “decided to punish the ‘disobedient’ Imran Khan”, noting how lawmakers from within the PTI switched sides to the opposition while the no-confidence vote was submitted to Parliament, Dawn reported.

“This is another attempt of shameless US interference in the internal affairs of an independent state for its own selfish purposes. The above facts eloquently testify to this,” Zakharova said.

“The (Pakistan) Prime Minister himself has repeatedly stated that the conspiracy against him was inspired and financed from abroad. We hope that Pakistani voters will be informed about these circumstances when they come to the elections, which should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly,” she said.

The statement comes after kHAN named US Assis¬≠tant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Donald Lu as the official who made “threatening remarks” about his regime in a letter, which the premier had brandished during a rally in Islamabad last month.

Last month, the National Security Committee, which includes all services chiefs, had decided to issue a “strong demarche” over the letter, terming it “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.

Khan has alleged that the no-confidence motion against him is part of the “foreign conspiracy” to oust him from power.

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