On Wednesday, leaked documents suggested the U.S. might have had a hand in former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s removal. As Pakistan’s political scene heats up, the world is watching closely. Here’s the full story.
Leaked Diplomatic Cipher Shakes Pakistani Politics
The political landscape in Pakistan has been thrown into turmoil once again following the alleged leak of a diplomatic cipher detailing a controversial discussion between American and Pakistani officials.
The Intercept’s Revelation
The Intercept, a leading American news outlet, was the first to publicize this confidential conversation, which has sparked intense debates on international interference in domestic affairs.
Imran Khan’s Long-Standing Claims of External Interference
In the eye of this storm stands Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, who had long claimed that his downfall was not a result of internal politics but rather the covert maneuvers of Washington.
International Interference in Domestic Affairs
According to this recently surfaced cipher, two officials from the State Department purportedly hinted that the U.S. would look more favorably upon Pakistan if Khan, who had just visited Russia amidst its invasion of Ukraine, were to be removed from power.
Imran Khan’s Long-standing Claims of External Interference
The State Department’s Response to the Alleged Document
When pressed about the validity and contents of the alleged document, State Department spokesman Mathew Miller responded with diplomatic caution.
Concerns Over Khan’s Russia Visit
He declined to verify the document’s authenticity but was clear in underlining America’s previously expressed concerns over Khan’s visit to Moscow during such a critical geopolitical moment.
Mathew Miller’s Diplomatic Caution
While careful not to comment on private diplomatic exchanges, Miller emphasized that even if the content was accurate, it simply underscored U.S. concerns over Khan’s “policy choices” and was not indicative of any preference regarding who should lead Pakistan.
The cable’s ripple effect was felt instantly in Pakistan. A day after the alleged meeting in Washington, a coalition of opposition parties swiftly brought a no-confidence motion against Khan, seeking his removal over alleged economic mismanagement.
Deliberations on the Cipher
The subsequent national security committee meeting in Pakistan revolved around this cipher, leading to a formal protest by Islamabad against what it deemed as U.S. interference in its sovereign matters.
The Military’s Role and Khan’s Allegations
Khan’s ousting, followed by his replacement by Shehbaz Sharif and later his arrest, have become the focal points of a narrative that he has consistently maintained – that of external forces working against his leadership.
These claims culminated last week when Khan received a three-year prison sentence over embezzlement charges, a move he decries as a strategic play orchestrated by the military.
A Contested Narrative
In a backdrop where the military’s role in politics is frequently questioned, Khan’s allegations against prominent military figures like General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the current army chief, Gen. Asim Munir, are only fanning the flames of this narrative.
Yet, the military has continuously refuted these claims, asserting its neutral position in the nation’s political arena.
Silence Speaks Loud
In the face of these dramatic developments, there is a marked silence on certain fronts.
Pakistani media channels, for instance, have been prohibited from broadcasting any content related to Khan – a move that speaks volumes in the absence of words.
Shehbaz Sharif’s Move Towards National Elections
As the dust begins to settle on these events, the nation’s attention is swiftly pivoting to what’s next.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken the bold step of dissolving the legislative National Assembly, paving the way for national elections scheduled for November.
Upcoming National Elections
This move aligns with Pakistan’s constitutional mandates and will be a pivotal moment in determining the nation’s future trajectory.
A Watchful Eye on Pakistan
Meanwhile, the international community is observing these events with bated breath.
While the U.S. has opted to classify Khan’s arrest as an “internal matter” for Pakistan, the ramifications of this political chaos and its subsequent ripple effects in global geopolitics are undeniable.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / patera . The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source : Voanews