Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan calls for dismissal of US diplomat Donald Lu for threatening Pakistan
ISLAMABAD – Former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday called on the US to dismiss Donald Lu, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, for "bad manners and sheer arrogance as he "threatened" Pakistan.
In an interview with CNN, Khan said the US diplomat told Pakistan's ambassador that unless "you get Imran Khan removed in a vote of no-confidence — which was not tabled but he seemed to know about it — Pakistan will suffer consequences".
"And then goes on to say, of course, if you get rid of him through the vote of no-confidence, all will be forgiven — such arrogance [...] by the way Becky, this guy should be sacked for bad manners and sheer arrogance," Khan told CNN's Becky Anderson.
Khan said he presented the cypher to the federal cabinet, the National Security Council (NSC), as it was a "blatant interference in Pakistan's affairs".
When asked whether he got in touch with US President Joe Biden or other officials, Khan said the NSC had decided to issue a demarche and protest to the US in Pakistan as well.
He said that President Arif Alvi had also asked Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to hold an inquiry into the matter.
Answering a question, Khan said he had a "perfectly good" relationship with the Donald Trump administration, and it was only when Joe Biden came into power that the relations became strained.
"... for some reason, which I still don't know, they (Biden administration) never got in touch with me; there was no US ambassador in Pakistan, I had no idea," Khan said.
The PTI chairman said his first priority was people of Pakistan, and he aspired to import oil from Russia, but for "some reason, this was taken against me as if I was being anti-US".
Explaining as to why he believes Washington was behind the regime change in Pakistan, Khan said the US embassy was calling members of his party, "some of the backbenchers", who were not happy. "Why were they meeting them?" he questioned, adding that they were the first ones who then jumped ships.
"Why would the US embassy be interested in the backbenchers of our party?" he said.
Responding to a question regarding the current government being an "American replant", Khan said: "It's with their blessing [...] we all call them imported government but the worst thing is they are a bunch of criminals. 60% of the cabinet is on bail."
Regarding him being in Moscow on the day when Russia announced war in Ukraine, the former premier reiterated that his visit was planned a long time back and all stakeholders in Pakistan were on board — the military wanted a hard way from the Russians, the government wanted oil — hence, everything was planned a long time ago.
"How would I know that the day I land in Moscow, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin would decide to go into Ukraine.
"I would regret the trip to Russia if we had known about the invasion and then I [had] gone in because I do not believe in military solutions," he said in reply to a question about whether he regretted his trip to Russia or not.
"I do not believe in military solutions and I have opposed all military ways of achieving political ends," he said.
Speaking about the next elections, Khan said: "Whenever the next elections take place not only we will run but I can predict right now that this will become the biggest party in Pakistan's history because the people are so incensed and feel insulted that these criminals are being forced on them who have been plundering the country for 30 years.
"There is anger in Pakistan and unfortunately because of this becoming public [...] there is anti-Americanism. When unpopular governments are fostered on the people the resentment then goes to the US. And unfortunately yes there is anti-Americanism in Pakistan," the former prime minister said.