Pakistan top body says no US plot in ex-PM Imran Khan’s removal
The National Security Council, a body of top civil and military leaders, says it found no evidence to support any conspiracy theory.
Pakistan’s National Security Council, a body of top civil and military leaders, has rejected former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s accusations that the United States had conspired to topple his government through a parliamentary vote of confidence.
Khan, 69, who led the nuclear-armed South Asian country of 220 million people for three and a half years, had accused Washington of backing a conspiracy to remove him.
He had said that he visited Moscow against US advice; Washington denies the charge.
Asad Majeed, former Pakistan ambassador to the US who had written a cable to Islamabad about Washington’s take on Khan’s Moscow visit, briefed the civil and military leaders on a forum called National Security Committee (NSC).
“The NSC after reviewing the contents of the communication, the assessment received, and the conclusion presented by the security agencies, concludes that there has been no conspiracy,” a statement from the office of new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who chaired the NSC meeting, said on Friday.
It said the country’s premier spy agencies informed the NSC that they found no evidence to support any conspiracy theory.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party demanded a judicial probe into the matter.
The removed leader met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, the day Russian forces invaded neighbouring Ukraine.
Khan initially blocked the no-confidence move, saying the NSC had endorsed the alleged conspiracy.
Opposition parties and analysts have said the military helped Khan win the election in 2018, which they both deny, but that the support waned after a falling-out over the appointment of the country’s next intelligence chief late last year.
Khan has aired his conspiracy allegations in three huge public rallies he has held since he was removed on April 10. He has demanded snap elections.
The next parliamentary election is due in 2023.