Imran Khan’s Political Saga In Washington Eyes

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In more than 25 years of my journalistic career, I have focused on the fundamental principles and aspects of Pakistan’s relations with the United States and India. 

The experiences of these years insist that the real democracy and human rights in Pakistan are not Washington’s top priority. If America truly cared about these issues, the journalists wouldn’t have been coerced during the Zia regime, and it wouldn’t have remained an ally for ten years. After General Zia, General Musharraf also wouldn’t have remained our strongest president from 1999 to 2008. 

A group of Imran Khan’s enthusiasts, however, have discovered another “America” in my perception, which remains very thoughtful about the standards of democracy and human rights in Pakistan. 

This group of Imran Khan’s enthusiasts was very pleased to hear that the U.S. Department of State officer, Donald Lu, has been asked by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs to appear before them in person. 

Since 2022, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership has continuously accused the aforementioned officer of sending threatening messages to the Imran Khan government. The reason cited was that the Biden administration became upset with Imran Khan’s assertiveness, particularly his “absolutely not” attitude. When he refused to comply and become a ‘yes-man’, he was subsequently removed from the cabinet following the presentation of a motion of no-confidence in the National Assembly of Pakistan.

For many aspects of Pakistan-U.S. relations, due to years of familiarity, through this column, I have consistently insisted in simple words that the downfall of the Imran Khan government and subsequently Washington’s disinterest had no direct relationship. 

The issue was actually the difficulties that arose on the “same page.” Additionally, there was the ambition of Qamar Javed Bajwa to continue to reign over our state’s most powerful institution for some time. 

The Imran Khan government did not seem to take comfort in this regard, leading to the beginning of complications. After writing this far, I am also forced to acknowledge that contrary to my claims, the vast majority of Pakistanis wholeheartedly believed in Imran Khan’s “Cypher story.”

Keeping the aforementioned context in mind, it is necessary to raise the question: if America did indeed remove Imran Khan from power through a conspiracy based on his “independent policies,” why would they be willing to assist in sending him back to the Prime Minister’s Office by pressuring the committee overseeing the foreign affairs of the American House of Representatives to once again dispatch him to the Prime Minister’s Office? 

However, the group of Imran Khan’s enthusiasts, who know America better than I do, are not prepared to ponder over this fundamental question. I hope that after Donald Lu’s presentation to the American House of Representatives committee, this group will understand that Washington’s stance on Imran Khan’s “stubbornness” with regards to “absoluteness” (Biden administration) remains unwavering. 

Before writing further, I also feel compelled to acknowledge that as a Pakistani, I continued to feel ashamed while watching Donald Lu’s appearance before committee directly on TV screens. Accusing someone of being a ‘liar’ in America is considered a serious offense. Just remember that former U.S. President Clinton had to face difficulties not because of inappropriate relations with Monica Lewinsky, but because of his continued denial of these relations, leading to charges of “lying.” 

The committee that fans of Imran Khan were eagerly awaiting took action when Donald Lu, in the midst of his presentation, once again labeled the founder of the most popular political party and our former Prime Minister as “liar”  in the context of the “Cypher story.” 

The accusation against him on the record of the American House of Representatives was indeed serious, but the ironic twist came when Donald Lu revealed that the allegations leveled against him were the reason not only for his, but also for his wife and family’s lives being put in danger. 

The police had to ensure their protection. When Donald Lu himself was mentioning the threats he received, a few Pakistanis present in a gallery of the American House of Representatives chanted “lies-lies.” This group, consisting of four or five youths, including supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), entered the gallery, including the flags of the PTI. 

They were escorted out by security staff. The commotion in the gallery only served to convey the message through TV screens that the PTI does not tolerate dissenting voices. They are accused of “lying.” It puts their lives in danger as well. The appearance of Donald Lu before the committee of the American House of Representatives did not work in favor of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf at all. Rather, it turned into a “Namaz Bukhshane” and “Rozay…” situation. 

A significant number of Imran Khan’s enthusiasts residing in America are very influential. Some of them, due to being personal physicians of powerful members sitting in both houses of the American Congress, have become members of their families. Imran Khan’s enthusiasts convinced this group to pave the way for them to face the committee of the American House of Representatives, while using their influence. The intention was to confront the officer of the American Department of State with tough questions and to prove “truth” through the wall. 

However, the result was quite the opposite. Many Pakistanis have seen the proceedings of the committee overseeing foreign affairs on TV screens. Despite thousands of reservations about Imran Khan’s politics, I did not like them being labeled “liars” by Donald Lu. 

However, I am also forced to raise the question: who prompted Donald Lu to use such words about our former Prime Minister and the head of the most popular political party?

Note: This is the translation of his Urdu column published in Nawai-Waqt

 

Nusrat Javeed
Nusrat Javeed
The writer is a veteran journalist who currently hosts his prime time talk show on Public News.

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