Hong Kong: The U.S. denied claims from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that the Biden administration is seeking to oust his government, which lost its majority in parliament ahead of a no-confidence vote on Sunday.
In a televised address Thursday night, Khan named the U.S. as the country behind a threatening letter he’s been hyping up after key allies deserted him. He has said it’s evidence of an “international conspiracy” to unseat him, even though he has yet to publicly release the document.
“To an independent country, a message like this which apparently is against the prime minister is actually against our nation,” Khan said in the speech.
Asked for a reaction on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said there was “no truth” to the allegations. “We are closely following developments in Pakistan, and we respect, we support Pakistan’s constitutional process and the rule of law,” he said.
Khan has fought to win back support after local media said his opponents pulled 196 lawmakers over to their side, well more than the 172 need to vote out the former cricket star. The opposition has named Shehbaz Sharif, the brother of self-exiled former leader Nawaz Sharif, to lead the next coalition government if Khan is voted out.
Khan’s backing has slipped in recent months as he deals with Asia’s second-highest inflation and tensions with the military, which remains a powerful force in Pakistani politics. The prime minister has had a tense relationship with the U.S., declining an invitation to President Joe Biden’s democracy summit in December and hailing the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan. The two leaders still haven’t spoken by phone.
At the same time, Khan has boosted ties with China and Russia — even meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow just hours after he ordered troops into Ukraine. Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to improve ties with the U.S. and European Union if he wins.
Pakistan’s military, once a top recipient of American arms, has also sought a more balanced foreign policy after becoming increasingly reliant on China for weapons. Khan clashed with top generals after publicly disagreeing with the army chief over a key promotion, undermining a key relationship that helped him stay in power. – Bloomberg