US rejects serious
allegations of Russia,
neutral in Pak politics,
Moscow ‘shameless interference’


WASHINGTON: The US State Department spokesman Ted Price has reiterated that, that there’s no truth to Russian allegations in regards to Pakistani controversial politics. The US official also explained the US position on the current political turmoil in Pakistan, pointing out that it had no favourites in this dispute.

The official said Washington “supports the peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles”, indicating that the US does not want tensions between the ruling and opposition parties to lead to violence and it would support any solution that’s based on the Pakistani Constitution.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

The United States has again rejected charges by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan that Washington is trying to engineer a regime change in Islamabad – including his naming of an American official who he said sent threatening messages calling for his ouster – while expressing support for a constitutional process and rule of law in the country.

“There is no truth to these allegations. We respect and support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law,” the US State Department spokesperson said.

The US official said Washington is “closely following developments in Pakistan,” even as the matter of constitutional propriety was taken to the country’s Supreme Court.

As you heard from me last week, we support the peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles in Pakistan, Ted Price told reporters at his daily news conference.

It is the case around the world. We do not support one political party over another. We support the broader principles, the principles of rule of law, of equal justice under the law, he said.

Price reiterated that there is no truth in the allegations that the United States is interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan and tried to topple the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price

Further underlining Washington’s neutrality on this issue, the spokesperson said: “We do not support one political party over another. We support principles of rule of law and equal justice under law.”

This statement covers more ground than previous US statements on the dispute, which did not go beyond denying “allegations” of US involvement. Apparently, the detailed Russian statement, which included serious allegations against the United States, necessitated the added detail.

Russia has accused the United States of committing “another attempt of shameless interference” in the internal affairs of Pakistan to punish a “disobedient” Imran Khan for not supporting the US position on Ukraine.

But rejecting the Russian allegation of interference in Pakistan’s domestic politics, the US State Department said on Tuesday that it “does not support one political party over another”.

In a statement issued in Moscow, spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, noted that President Arif Alvi had dissolved the National Assembly on April 3 on Imran Khan’s advice, which was based on a claim that the US orchestrated a plan to topple his government.

“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,” Ms Zakharova said.

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

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Imran Khan meeting in Moscow, on February 24.

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

The Russian official claimed 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.

“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,” she 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.”

The Russian foreign ministry’s statement came a couple of days after Imran Khan named US Assistant 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 public 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”.

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

Russia to resume flights for Pakistan

MOSCOW: Russia plans to end restrictions on flights to and from 52 countries after April 9, part of its plans to reduce measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Monday.

Russia plans to resume flights to and from Argentina, South Africa and other “friendly countries”, Mishustin said, meaning those that have not joined the latest wave of Western sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to demilitarise its neighbour.

Russia imposed broad travel restrictions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, many of which remain in force, but has gradually expanded the list of countries deemed safe for air travel.