US behind ‘threatening memo’ against him, Imran reveals ahead of no-confidence motion

Islamabad, March 31 : Amid mounting rumours of back-channel efforts to find a respectable exit for him ahead of Sunday’s no-confidence motion, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today let slip that the US was behind the “threatening memo” against his government. Addressing the nation in a “live” televised appearance on Thursday, Imran Khan said that the no-confidence vote on Sunday will decide the future of the country. In his address, that was initially to begin at 7:15pm but began a little late at 8pm, Imran again linked the no-trust move against him with a “foreign conspiracy” allegedly hatched due to his government’s “independent foreign policy”. He also warned his party’s dissidents and political rivals that the future generations of the country will neither forgive them nor their “handlers”. In what appeared to be a slip of tongue, Imran named the US as the country behind the letter, only to quickly correct himself. “On March 8, or probably before that on March 7, we received a message from the US … no, not the US, what I mean to say is from some other foreign country,” he said, adding that the message was ostensibly not only against the prime minister of an independent country but was against the nation. “The most painful thing for me is not that the message clearly says that if the no-confidence motion … and they knew beforehand that the opposition is moving a no-confidence (motion) and was in contact with people abroad. The interesting thing, it is not against Pakistani leadership or government. It is only against Imran Khan.” Imran said the memo was against him, not against the government. “…it stated that if the no-confidence motion passes, Pakistan will be forgiven, if not, there will be consequences.” He stated that it was an “official letter” that was comm cated by Pakistan’s ambassador, who was taking notes during the meeting. He also said the envoy was told that if Imran Khan remains in power, Pakistan would face “difficulties”. “Is this our standing? We are a strong nation of 220 million?” Imran asked, adding that the letter does not mention any reason and only wanted his ouster. Imran said the foreign power had claimed that he decided to visit Russia on his own without consultation, though Pakistani officials explained to them the visit came after thorough deliberation and consultation. “But what is most disturbing is that our people, who are sitting here, are in contact with foreign powers,” he said, as he referred to “three stooges” — PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Referring to the no-confidence motion, he said “On Sunday, there will be voting and a decision will be taken about the [future] direction of this country … Somebody suggested that I should resign. I always fight till the last ball. I want the entire nation to see on that day who sold their consciences. “There is looted money being used to buy off people, and this is happening before the entire nation. This is a transaction of their consciences, their country and its sovereignty,” he alleged. Despite seeing several of his main allies side with the opposition, Imran said he still has “hope”. “I am telling people who have entered deals that this will be stamped on you for life. The people will neither forget nor forgive you. Neither will they forgive those who are handling you. The people will always remember that you sold your country. Through a foreign conspiracy, you tried to topple a government that had an independent foreign policy.” “Mir Jafer and Mir Sadiq colluded with the Britishers and enslaved Bengal. These (his party’s dissidents) are Mir Jafers and Mir Sadiqs of today,” he added. “They have colluded with foreign powers and are bringing a change in this country but remember that the nation will not let you forget and the future generations will not forgive you. According to sources, one of the options for a safe exit is for Imran to reach a deal with the opposition with the promise of early elections if they withdraw the no-confidence motion against him. According to sources, this option was presented to Imran some time back, with an assurance from the powers-that-be that the opposition parties could be persuaded to withdraw the no-trust motion if the government announces early elections, soon after presentation of the budget. Imran’s nationalised address came as the opposition Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz claimed that Imran has sought a safe exit for himself by holding early elections. PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah revealed at the opposition parliamentary party meeting that Imran has made the offer through an “important person” of the country. Later, the opposition parliamentary party meeting rejected the alleged offer in its statement while Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other leaders told reporters that Imran Khan had no option but to hold a vote on the no-confidence motion. RN

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