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‘This is what you call independent’ — Imran Khan praises India resisting US on Russian oil import

The ex-PM, who blames US for 'regime change conspiracy' in Pakistan, commended the Indian foreign minister for asking why the west wasn't questioning Europe on Russian oil imports.

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New Delhi: At a rally in Lahore Saturday, former Pakistani Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had played a video clip of Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and commended New Delhi’s response on buying Russian oil despite western pressure.

Khan was speaking at a rally held to mark Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day.

“They [the US] ordered India to not buy oil from Russia. India is a strategic ally of the US. Pakistan does not share any such alliance with the US. Look at what India’s Foreign Minister said when the US asked them not to buy Russian oil,” said Khan, after which he played a clip of Jaishankar speaking at the GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum in Slovakia in June.

When asked if India’s decision to buy cheap Russian oil was funding the war in Ukraine, Jaishankar had asked why only India is being questioned on the issue when Europe continues to import oil from Moscow.

“This is what you call an independent country,” said Khan.

Ever since he was ousted from power in April by the Shehbaz Sharif government, Khan has accused the US of a “regime change conspiracy” to bring in an “obedient PM” to replace him. During the rally, he also said that his fight for “real freedom” has entered its “final phase” and the next step is holding nation-wide anti-government rallies.

During the same rally, though, he clarified that he is not “anti-America”.

“I know America and the United Kingdom better than most of Pakistanis […] I know their psychology; if you beg them, they will use you,” the ex-premier said. “I am not anti-America at all. I want friendship with America. But I don’t want slavery,” he added.

Also read: Imran Khan’s having a coming-of-age moment. And it’s shaking up the Sharifs

Pakistan’s ‘imported government’

At the rally, Khan also played a video of South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor who Monday spoke against countries attempting to bully other nations into taking sides amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine.

“One thing I definitely dislike is being told either you choose this or else. I definitely will not be bullied that way,” Pandor had said, after hosting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently on a tour of three African nations.

According to Khan, the Sharif government lacks the courage to stand up to US pressure.

If a country like India, said Khan, which gained independence along with Pakistan, can frame its foreign policy to suit the needs of its people, then why is the current Pakistani dispensation using the argument “beggars can’t be choosers”?

He added that his PTI government had previously spoken to Russia about buying cheaper oil but the current “imported” government does not have the courage to go against the US.

“Fuel prices are skyrocketing and people are below the poverty line. I am against this slavery,” he said at the rally.

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also read: Pakistan still fighting for azadi. Its soap opera has more seasons than Days of Our Lives


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