Nabeel Zafar describes an irrational situation
No conspiracy though it is not the first time that the points of view of political groups have differed from each other but this time round irrationality appears to be the dominant factor in the political rivalries in Pakistan. The conspiracy theory that has gained currency in contemporary political debate is full of acrimony with PTI adamantly insisting that it has been driven out of power due to American conspiracy. On the other hand most elements of the country are trying their level best to deny such frivolous and unfounded allegations and are seen to be doing their utmost to bring rationality to the sequence of events. Despite the complete lack of ground such allegations hold it is quite surprising to observe that the institutions of state including the new government are bending backwards to satiate the demands of PTI.
In this context the highest forum of coordination on national security issues met for the second time with a view to assuage the apparently outrageous public opinion PTI’s consistent propaganda has evoked. As happened during the previous meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), this second meeting reiterated that there was no foreign conspiracy to topple the Imran Khan-led government. It was reported that the No conspiracy of NSC discussed the telegram received from the Pakistan embassy in Washington. Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US briefed the committee on the context and content of his telegram. The meeting of the NSC was chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and was attended by all service chiefs and senior civil officers. Political office holders of the new government including the defence, Interior information planning and foreign affairs ministers also participated in the meeting.
The statement by the NSC comes in the wake of PTI’s campaign, claiming that his government was ousted by a foreign conspiracy. To back his claim, Imran has continuously referred to a cable sent by Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, which he said contains evidence of the conspiracy to topple his government. This is the second time of No conspiracy in as many months that the NSC has held a meeting to review the contents of the cable sent by Majeed. Earlier in March, the NSC had decided to issue strong demarche to a country, that it did not name, over what it said was blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan. While the forum had stopped short of calling the interference a conspiracy in its last meeting, which was chaired by then-prime minister Imran Khan and included the same military chiefs who attended today, it had not issued an explicit denial of the conspiracy either as seen in today’s handout. Last month’s NSC meeting had also termed the interference unacceptable under any circumstances.
Earlier this month, DG ISPR categorically said that the word conspiracy was not used in the statement issued after March’s NSC meeting. He added that as far as military response about the NSC meeting is considered, that stance, in that meeting was fully given, and then a statement was issued which clearly says what was concluded in that meeting. He stressed that the words used are in front of all and they are explicitly clear. The DG ISPR had also said that issuance of demarches was not specific to the hatching of conspiracies but could also be given for other reasons adding that in this case it was given for undiplomatic language and interference.
Ever since his ouster through a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly, Imran Khan has dismissed the Shehbaz government terming it imported. The former PM said that the no-confidence move against him was part of a foreign conspiracy, claiming that the cable received from the ambassador on 7 March, a day before the opposition officially filed the no-trust move against him, was evidence of the conspiracy. Imran claimed that the cable showed Pakistan was threatened by a US diplomat who said the country would have to face consequences if he was not removed via the no-trust motion, which had not even been filed at the time. The issue was first raised by Imran Khan at a public rally on 7 March four days before the first NSC meeting was held to review the contents of the cable.
In one of his addresses, Imran said the cable carried details of the ambassador’s meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs in which the latter allegedly threatened Pakistan. The former Pakistani ambassador, in the cable, reportedly said that the American official warned that Imran’s continuation as the prime minister would have repercussions for bilateral relations. The US, Imran Khan claimed, was annoyed with his independent foreign policy and visit to Moscow. It was on the basis of this cable, which he saw as evidence of a conspiracy to oust Imran, that the National Assembly Deputy Speaker gave a ruling to dismiss the no-trust against the then premier on 3 April, when voting on the resolution was set to take place, terming the motion contradictory to Article 5 of the Constitution, which mandates loyalty to the state for all citizens. Deputy Speaker’s ruling was subsequently declared null and void by the Supreme Court and voting on the no-trust resolution finally took place on 10 April, as a result of which Imran was removed as prime minister.
The issue of no conspiracy of has become quite critical as the former prime minister has called upon the entire nation to get ready for a nationwide movement to achieve real independence and democracy and sent a message to whoever made the mistake of ousting him that the only way to rectify it lay in early elections. This is a veiled warning to the ones who play decisive role in determining the national course of action. Imran Khan is drumming up support for his stance with the assistance of his exceptionally well-heeled media apparatus that appears to have been trained to high levels of competence and efficiency. Imran Khan is holding pretty large-sized rallies across the country and is pitching in with a highly saleable public slogan of breaking the shackles of foreign slavery.
In his latest rally Imran Khan took an oath from the crowd that they would stay in struggle mode to achieve real independence and democracy in the country until fresh elections were announced. By doing so, many observers point out that PTI would be launching massive protest demonstrations against the government after Eidul Fitr, as the party chairman asked for holding a prayer on the night of 27 April. Calling the incumbent government corrupt, which he alleged was formed on the dictation of foreign masters; Imran Khan rejected no conspiracy its announcement of constituting a commission to probe ‘Lettergate’. He said that PTI will not accept any commission formed by this government and demanded the diplomatic cable should be discussed in an open hearing of the Supreme Court adding that when the cable will be investigated openly, only then Pakistanis will know the conspiracy hatched against his government. Explaining what he believed were the reasons behind the conspiracy allegedly hatched to oust his government, the PTI chairman said he always tried to set an independent foreign policy in the best interest of Pakistan, raised his voice against Islamophobia and refused to join any country’s war on a foreign land. TW