Foreign Ministry says telegram issue ‘undermines’ Pakistan’s foreign relations, urges stakeholders to

ISLAMABAD — As political discord escalates in Pakistan following the ousting of former Prime Minister Imran Khan from power earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry on Monday offered advice to all stakeholders.

The Foreign Ministry has called on all stakeholders to move on after the country’s top security body ruled out any foreign plots and set aside the controversy generated by an encrypted telegram from a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, saying it “undermines and complicates” Islamabad’s foreign relations. with partner countries.

Waving an alleged letter at a public rally in Islamabad on March 27, former Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed for the first time that a foreign “conspiracy” was behind the vote of no confidence (VoNC) held against him by the opposition of the time. The plot was orchestrated by the United States to remove him from power for pursuing an independent foreign policy for Pakistan and visiting Russia despite Washington’s concerns, he said.

Khan convened the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on March 31 to discuss the content of the telegram sent by Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, Asad Majeed Khan, after his meeting with US Undersecretary Donald Lu. the committee did not endorse Khan’s claim of a “conspiracy”, it called the language used by the US official “undiplomatic” and amounting to “blatant interference” in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

Khan was removed from office after a successful VoNC and Shehbaz Sharif became the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. Prime Minister Sharif again convened the NSC meeting on April 22 to discuss the issue of the telegram, which concluded that no evidence of a foreign conspiracy was found in Khan’s dismissal.

“We believe that the NSC’s categorical statement, which was based on briefings and assessments from all stakeholders where a conspiracy has been ruled out, should bring this case to an end,” spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmad told reporters. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. a press conference on Monday.

“Episodes like this risk undermining our diplomacy and complicating our external relations, as the elements of trust and confidentiality are essential to the conduct of diplomacy in any country.”

It was time to move on so Pakistani diplomats could get back to improving the country’s relations in Pakistan’s best interests, the spokesperson said.

“The United States is a key partner for Pakistan and both parties want to build on this long-standing relationship between the two countries and further strengthen and diversify it,” he added.

Ahmad said it was quite clear that the issue had been sufficiently and sufficiently discussed and addressed in the NSC meetings and that the committee ruled out any conspiracy behind regime change in Pakistan in its categorical statement.

Regarding the demarche sent to the United States, he said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had taken measures according to the directives of the country’s leaders. “Demarches have been made in Islamabad and Washington on the direction of the NSC meeting held on March 31,” he added.

Asked about the accusation that the ambassador’s communication was initially concealed from the then foreign minister, the foreign ministry spokesperson said such claims were unfounded and that there was no possibility of withholding something like an official telegram.

“It was an encrypted telegram which is a responsible and classified document to be handled and accessed strictly in accordance with relevant instructions and procedures,” he said. “The encrypted telegram was duly received at the Foreign Office and immediately distributed to the relevant authorities.”

He dispelled rumors that an investigation or action had been taken against Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan, who sent the cable.

“The Ambassador has completed his tenure in Washington and has already been assigned to another post in Brussels (Pakistan Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg) and he will proceed with his new assignment as announced,” Ahmad clarified.

Shirlene J. Manley