Imran Khan calls for Donald Lu’s sacking

Former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has called for the sacking of US diplomat Donald Lu for "bad manners and sheer arrogance."

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Former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has called for the sacking of US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Donald Lu for “bad manners and sheer arrogance.”

During an interview with CNN, Khan lashed out at Lu, saying, “Imagine telling the ambassador of a country of 220 million people that you get rid of your prime minister.”

Khan accused Lu of threatening Asad Majeed – Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US – that a failure to remove him through a no-confidence vote would herald “consequences” for Pakistan and vice versa.

Khan told host Becky Anderson the threat was made even before the opposition tabled the no-confidence motion that resulted in his ouster.

Anderson questioned why he did not make his claims public earlier if he was so “specific” about their details.

The PTI chairman responded that he presented the cypher before his cabinet and the National Security Council (NSC), disclosing minutes of the meeting between Lu and Pakistan’s ambassador, after which a demarche was also issued to America.

Khan added that he had a perfectly good relationship with the Trump administration; however, for some reason, the Biden administration never got in touch with him and did not even appoint an ambassador to Islamabad during his tenure.

Anderson said the US had “rubbished” the notion that it was involved in the regime change, to which Khan responded that the US embassy was calling and meeting disgruntled PTI members even before the meeting between Lu and Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the US.

“What were they meeting [US officials] for? They were the first ones to jump ship, and they were the ones who then offered million dollars each to buy my other MNAs who jumped ship later on.”

“Why would the US embassy be interested in our party backbenchers?” the former prime minister said.

Anderson asked Khan about his visit to Moscow coinciding with the Kremlin’s announcement of the Ukraine invasion, adding that “the optics didn’t and don’t look good, do they?”

“They didn’t, but let me explain to you. This visit was planned a long time back and all stakeholders in Pakistan were onboard. The military wanted Russian hardware, we wanted oil, there was a gas pipeline which was being negotiated for the past six years before my government came in. How would I have known that the day I land in Moscow, President [Vladimir] Putin would decide to go into Ukraine?” he responded.

Asked whether he regretted the trip, Khan said he would have regretted it if he had known about the invasion beforehand and still chosen to go ahead. He said he opposes all military ways of achieving political ends, but he “wasn’t supposed to know [that Russia would announce war].”

Read more: Iran’s 1953 coup vs. Imran Khan’s ouster

Furthermore, Khan predicted that the PTI would become the “biggest party in Pakistan’s history because people are so incensed and feel insulted that these criminals have been foisted over us.”

Referring to previous examples of alleged US-backed regime changes in Iran and South American countries, he said resentment increased against the US when unpopular governments were brought to power. “There is anger in Pakistan. There is anti-Americanism,” he said.