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20220331

US denies Imran Khan's claims of 'foreign conspiracy' to oust him from power

Washington [US]: White House Director of Communications Kate Bedingfield on Thursday (local time) dismissed the allegations made by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding Washington's role in an alleged "foreign conspiracy" to oust him from power. "There is absolutely no truth to that allegation," Bedingfield told reporters. Bedingfield's assessment is in line with the Department of State. Earlier, a US State Department spokesperson told ANI, that "there is no truth to these allegations. We are closely following developments in Pakistan. We respect and support Pakistan's constitutional process and the rule of law." Later, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated the same in his press briefing. The Pakistan Prime Minister on Thursday reiterated his claims of "foreign conspiracy" in the country, saying that a foreign nation is trying to oust him over the "independent" foreign policy choices made by him. Addressing the people of Pakistan, ahead of the no-confidence motion, Imran claimed a foreign nation sent a message that Imran Khan needs to be removed else the country will suffer consequences." "The United States", Imran Khan said in a slip of the tongue and then stated that "a foreign country" had sent a "threatening memo" which was against the Pakistani nation."On March 8 or before that on March 7, the US sent us a...not the US but a foreign country sent us a message. The reason why I am talking about this...for an independent country to receive such a message... this is against me and the country," he said. Imran Khan 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. "Pakistan PM earlier shared the contents of a secret letter that was in news last week when he informed a public meeting that his government had received threats from abroad. Imran Khan had claimed that the threatening letter had been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pakistan media reports said that letter is the word-for-word transcript of a conversation between the diplomats of Pakistan and another country sent to Pakistan's Foreign Ministry. The relationship between US and Pakistan has been on the edge since the US withdrew from Afghanistan last summer. The increasing alignment between China and Pakistan also casts a shadow over US policy towards Pakistan. In October last year, Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state and the highest placed US official to visit Pakistan since Biden took over, told reporters her trip to Pakistan was aimed at accomplishing a 'specific and narrow purpose", referring to Afghanistan. In September, Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a hearing on Afghanistan told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan has a "multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours." In congressional hearings, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that "we need to fully examine the role of Pakistan sanctuary" in understanding how the Taliban prevailed. In the Senate, 22 Republican lawmakers have proposed a bill calling for Afghanistan's new Taliban government to be sanctioned, along with governments that have supported the Taliban. The bill also calls for a report that will include "an assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020."

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