Islamabad, April 1
Ahead of Sunday’s no-trust motion against him, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said a “powerful country”, which is supporting India, is angry with Pakistan because of his recent visit to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin.
Addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue, Khan emphasised that an independent foreign policy was crucial for the country, and said the reason why Pakistan could not touch its peak potential was its dependency syndrome on other powerful nations.
“A county without an independent foreign policy remains unable to secure the interests of its people,” he said.
Khan said taking independent decisions while keeping high the interests of a nation was extremely important rather than submitting to the will of other countries in exchange for foreign aid.
Referring to the US, Khan said a “powerful country” had expressed displeasure over his recent visit to Russia, the official APP news agency reported.
“On the other hand, it is supporting its ally India which imports oil from Russia,” he rued.
Khan’s comments came a day after Pakistan summoned the Acting US envoy in Islamabad to the Foreign Ministry over a “threatening” letter and an alleged “foreign-funded plot” against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government led by Khan.
The US diplomat was summoned hours after the country’s top decision-making body on national security voiced concern over the issue during a meeting chaired by Khan on Thursday.
Prime Minister Khan met President Putin in the Kremlin on February 24, the day the Russian President ordered a “special military operation” against Ukraine.
Pakistan’s ties with Russia have moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities in recent years and the chill in the relations between Pakistan and the US has further pushed the country towards Russia and China.
US President Joe Biden is yet to make a customary call to Prime Minister Khan since he assumed office in January 2021.
In his speech, Khan said his government has pursued an independent foreign policy.
“How come a country can interfere in the affairs of an independent State,” he said. “But not to blame them, as it is our fault because we gave them this impression.” He said for its own interest, Pakistan’s elite threw the nation to the altar and put its self-respect at stake.
Last month, Pakistan abstained from voting in United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling on Russia to stop the war against Ukraine, and urged that the conflict be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.
Khan has been claiming that the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against him was the result of a “foreign conspiracy” because of his independent foreign policy and funds were being channelled from abroad to oust him from power.
The 69-year-old embattled prime minister on Wednesday effectively lost majority in Parliament after Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), a key partner of the ruling coalition, joined the ranks of the Opposition, which had tabled a no-confidence motion against his government in the National Assembly. The crucial vote on the no-confidence motion will take place on Sunday.
Taking a jibe at the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, Khan said: “Those who are preparing to get to the Prime Minister’s Office are giving interviews that my statements will piss off America and Pakistan cannot survive without its support.”
The prime minister said the decisions of previous politicians have led to a situation where no foreign country respects Pakistan.
“They order us. They say that if the no-confidence motion does not become successful, there will be consequences for Pakistan,” he said.