Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, under threat of a motion of no confidence, accused the United States of interfering in the affairs of the country on Thursday, while the opening of the debates on the motion was postponed until Sunday.
In a televised address to the nation, Irman Khan appeared to be mistaken when he named the United States as the source of a “message” which he claimed would demonstrate political interference in the affairs of the Pakistan.
“America has, uh…, not America, but a foreign country, which I can’t name… I mean, from a foreign country, we received a message…”, did he declare.
According to local media, the message in question is a letter from the Pakistani ambassador to Washington, in which the latter reported a conversation, recorded, with a senior American official, who believed that relations would be better if the Prime Minister left his functions.
“They say our anger will fade if Imran Khan loses this vote of no confidence,” he continued.
The Prime Minister had already raised the subject – speaking of a “foreign power” without naming it – on Sunday during a meeting bringing together several thousand of his supporters in Islamabad.
On Thursday evening, in his address to the nation, speaking without note, he touched on several of his favorite subjects, including his efforts to have Islamophobia recognized as a global threat, or his desire to establish a non-aligned path for the Pakistan on the world stage.
– Defections –
Irman Khan also defended his visit to Moscow on the day of the invasion of Ukraine, which angered Western countries.
“Even European leaders have gone to Russia, but Pakistan in particular is asked + Why did you go there? +, as if we were their servants,” he said.
Regularly complaining about the sacrifices demanded, according to him, from Pakistan to join the “war against terrorism” launched by the United States in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, and which according to him bring neither recognition nor reward, he asked: “Did someone say ‘thank you Pakistan’ for what we have done?”.
The debates on the motion of censure were to open this Thursday, but the Vice-President of the Assembly postponed the date to Sunday, arguing the refusal by deputies to deal first with other points of the order of the day.
Tipped to become the next prime minister if Imran Khan is ousted, Shehbaz Sharif, president of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), one of the two main opposition parties, condemned the suspension.
“The vice-president has once again dishonored the rules by not allowing debate on this agenda item,” he told reporters outside parliament.
Accused by his opponents of economic mismanagement – galloping inflation, weak rupiah and crushing debt -, and of clumsiness in foreign policy, Imran Khan, former national glory of cricket, is facing his most serious political crisis since his election in 2018.
The government must also face the increased threat of the Pakistani Taliban of the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan), who announced on Wednesday that they wanted to launch an “offensive” against the security forces, for the start of Ramadan.
Imran Khan’s PTI and its allies no longer have a majority in the Assembly (which has 342 deputies), after the defection of one of them, whose seven members announced their intention to vote for censure .
More than a dozen PTI deputies will also vote in favour.
The two main opposition parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have dominated national politics for decades, with periods of power punctuated by military coups. , until Imran Khan forged a coalition, notably promising voters to sweep away decades of corruption.
Some analysts say Imran Khan has also lost crucial support from the military, the key to Pakistan’s political power.
Since independence in 1947, Pakistan has experienced four military coups, and at least as many unsuccessful ones, and the country has spent more than three decades under military rule.