Imran Khan postpones address to nation, to fight back ‘until the last ball’

Islamabad, March 30 : Embattled Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday postponed his much-anticipated address to the nation even as federal ministers ruled out the possibility of him stepping down before the vote of no-confidence, to be held on Sunday April 3. The Pakistan Prime Minister, fighting a survival battle that appears lost amid allies deserting him, has declared he will not step down as prime minister of the country and will fight back “until the last ball.” Meanwhile, Imran Khan discussed the “foreign threat” letter with journalists and the military leadership today. Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had earlier announced that Imran Khan will address the nation at 5pm Wednesday. However, PTI’s Senator Faisal Javed said the address has been postponed. Javed rejected the notion that someone had instructed Imran Khan to postpone the address. Meanwhile, the military leadership is expected to call on Imran Khan any time this evening. The PM will also likely convene a meeting of the National Security Committee to discuss the letter allegedly containing a foreign threat and received by the PTI government. At a public rally in Islamabad’s Parade Ground on Sunday, Imran Khan had claimed that his government had received a “written threat” from outside the country and it was an evidence of a foreign-funded conspiracy against his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party’s rule. The letter was reportedly sent by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the ted States Asad Majeed Khan after his meeting with the US Secretary of State. Other reports also claim that the letter was not written by a foreign government but by an ambassador and contained an assessment of the bilateral relations between Pakistan and a western country. Imran Khan shared the contents of the letter with a select group of journalists today. According to Samaa TV, it is a document that tells that Americans have threatened that if a no-confidence against Imran Khan fails “there would be consequences” and if the motion goes through the US “would forgive Pakistan’s mistakes”. The letter also deals with Pakistan’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and Imran Khan was criticized for his trip to Russia at the time of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the letter’s contents, the US has linked its foreign policy with Imran Khan’s exit. Regarding Nawaz Sharif’s involvement in the episode, the journalists were told that the opposition held meetings in the west and they created the impression that Imran Khan is anti-US. The letter was also discussed at an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet on Wednesday. Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said the letter containing the foreign threat was presented before the cabinet, which reposed complete trust in the prime minister. Earlier, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the prime minister would never step down and both friends and enemies will see him fight until the last ball. Imran Khan has said he will also show the letter to one member of each of PTI’s allies in the government. “People think this is a drama. It is not. We wanted to protect our national interests, that’s why we couldn’t tell the nation about the countries or the people who threatened us,” he said. Imran said he will share the letter to quell “the doubts that he is doing this to save his government.” “People can take whatever decision they want, but they should be aware that they don’t become part of a huge international conspiracy,” he said. He called the no-confidence motion a “fair and democratic” means, adding that political crises are “not a new thing in a parliamentary democracy.” However, he called the prevailing situation a “foreign-imported crisis”. “Those [powers] who used to control Pakistan and get their demands accepted, against our national interests, on one telephone call, they couldn’t tolerate a leadership that prioritised its national interest.” Meanwhile, an application has been filed with the Supreme Court seeking a probe into the letter, which Imran Khan claimed was a “written” foreign threat that his government received from outside the country. The petition, filed by Advocate Zulfiqar Bhutta, requests the court to order the government to give the letter to concerned civil and military authorities to investigate its origin. RN

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