US State Dept says
‘no truth’ to allegations
in sending foreign
conspiracy threatening letter

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ISLAMABAD: The US State Department has said no US government agency or official had sent a letter commenting on the political situation in Pakistan where Pakistani lawmakers appear poised to push Prime Minister Imran Khan out of power in an upcoming no-confidence vote, Dawn reported on Thursday.

Pak-US flags

On Wednesday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Khan’s largest ally in parliament, struck a deal with the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), saying it would vote again the PM in the no-trust vote expected to take place early next month.

Khan’s party does not have a majority in the National Assembly by itself and has relied on the support of coalition allies, the biggest of which was the MQM, based in the southern port city of Karachi. Without its vote, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf falls short of the 172 needed to retain power. Khan also faces revolt by a dozen lawmakers from his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party who have publicly pledged to vote against him.

In a rally on Sunday, Khan alleged that the no-confidence vote against him and moves to oust him were part of a foreign conspiracy, alleging that he had a “threatening” letter to prove his allegations. Khan did not specify which country or personality had written the letter. Since then, however, it has emerged that the letter was a diplomatic cable written by a Pakistani diplomat detailing American sentiment about strained US-Pakistan relations under Khan and the hope that ties could possibly improve if there was regime change.

But responding to questions from Pakistan’s Dawn about the alleged letter and US involvement in the no-confidence motion against the PTI government, a State Department spokesperson said:

“There is no truth to these allegations.”

Khan, who came to power in 2018 by getting 176 votes of the 342-seat National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, was expected to address the nation on Wednesday night. However, after a meeting with the country’s army chief later in the day, Khan postponed his speech.

Khan’s ouster would likely mean another round of instability in the nuclear armed south Asian country, in which the military has a long record of intervening in politics, though it denies this, and no prime minister has completed a full five-year term in its history.