Marriyum refuses to let Imran off the hook over ‘foreign conspiracy’ remarks

Politicians, journalists react to PTI chief's remarks in Financial Times interview

Newsdesk November 14, 2022
Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in Islamabad on August 19, 2022. PHOTO: PID

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb took rival party chief Imran Khan to task on Monday over his 'U-turn' on the ‘foreign conspiracy narrative’ wherein he accused the US of engineering his ouster from power by supporting the then opposition’s no-confidence motion in April this year.

In an interview with Financial Times, published a day ago, Imran had signalled a desire to work with Washington saying he wants to mend relations with the US despite accusing it of treating Pakistan as a "slave".

The former premier had said he no longer “blamed” the US and wants a “dignified” relationship if re-elected.

Read COAS appointment: Imran’s shifting scales

“As far as I’m concerned it’s over, it’s behind me,” he said of the alleged conspiracy, which both PM Shehbaz Sharif and the US deny. “The Pakistan I want to lead must have good relationships with everyone, especially the United States,” he had said.

Reacting to the statements issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that "the issue is not going to disappear by sweeping it under the rug; you will be held answerable for this."

“Simply withdrawing from the statements that were used to spread chaos and lies without answering for them will not be enough,” she added, saying that his changed stance on the alleged ‘US conspiracy’ was now a “question mark for those who believed the liar, the foreign-funded instigator who played with the national interest”.

“Just saying “it’s behind me and it’s over” after calling the parliament, the armed forces of Pakistan and institutions as traitors will wrap up the matter?” she retorted, adding that “no way Imran Khan, no way”.

Read more Imran compromises national interests for personal political gains: Marriyum

She also alleged that the PTI chief had "made constitutional institutions break the Constitution to cover up his lies".

"After destroying the country, Imran Khan has withdrawn from the US conspiracy narrative," the minister stressed, saying that Imran "thinks his supporters are insane and sheep".

"Imran Khan has withdrawn from the 'US conspiracy', 'imported government' and 'regime change' narrative because it was never true to begin with," she claimed.

"Today the true face of the so-called 'Haqeeqi Azadi' [true freedom] has been unveiled," she added. Marriuym also went on to say that the former prime minister had put "Pakistan's foreign relations in grave danger" and "played a treacherous game with national interest" merely in "his lust for power".

She questioned how the PTI chief could "just say that the US conspiracy matter was over after teaching lies to the entire nation" and "filing appeals in the Supreme Court".

'Mother of all U-Turns'

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman termed the PTI chief's statements to the foreign newspaper "mother of all U-Turns" and questioned "who is responsible for all damage caused to the country's diplomatic ties by his false narrative?"

She also added that "the audio leak has clearly proven that Imran Khan fabricated a false narrative on the cipher issue and also planned to "play" on it."

The senator also said that "this is not the case of 35 Puncture which could later be dismissed as a political statement. It was a matter of national security that Imran Khan will have to account for."

"U-turn on this matter is not acceptable now," she stressed.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also took to Twitter to take a dig at the PTI chief saying "all that noise about foreign conspiracy and the imported government is now over".


He further alleged that now Imran had "begun begging the US".

PML-N leader Hina Parvez Butt, adding to the criticism said that Imran's "drama of foreign conspiracy and imported government has fizzled out after surfacing of his purportedly leaked audios."

"He not only compromised on the national interest but also transgressed the Constitution," she added.

"What 'real freedom' are PTI's 'real fraudsters' looking for?' she questioned in another tweet.

"There is still time," she added, urging his supporters to "open your eyes, and recognise this fraud, who says one thing in the morning, another at noon and something else at night".

On the other hand, senior journalist Hamid Mir while taking in all of Imran's recent statements to foreign media, said that he believed Imran was "on damage control". He interpreted the seemingly contradictory statements as being indicative of "him realising that the foreign conspiracy narrative that he had constructed is causing them a lot of damage".

"Assuming they do form a majority government," he said while speaking on local media, "how would that government work with the international community, with IMF, Wolrd Bank, with US and European Union?"

"I believe his main fight is in Pakistan, he has opened a lot of fronts in the country, he has named a lot of names in the armed forces of Pakistan, so as part of his long-term strategy he is trying to improve ties with the US," he added.

The journalist also revealed that Imran's representatives were "meeting with people" in not just the US but also the UK and Brussels for lobbying. However, Hamid Mir anticipated that taking his words back "will inevitably cause a lot of damage" too. "The people do not forget so easily," he added.

'Words deliberately distorted'

Nonetheless, senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari claimed that Imran's words were being "deliberately distorted".

Taking a dig at journalists "writing for English papers" in Pakistan, she said that the media persons should "at least actually read and understand" what the PTI chief had stated in his interview. "All he is saying is it happened," she clarified, "it is behind us and we are moving forward".

PTI leader Hammad Azhar, sharing the picture of a headline carried by an English daily stated that, "Headline twisting & angling has taken extreme forms in Pakistan these days. Domestic arm-twisting, strong editorial prejudices and international aid flows to media outlets in Pakistan combine to create ridiculous headlines."


Shortly before his impending ouster from the government, former prime minister Imran Khan waved a secret letter at his public rally in Islamabad on March 27, claiming that there was an international conspiracy to topple his government.

He termed the no-confidence motion against him a “huge foreign conspiracy against Pakistan” and soon after revealed that the US had sent the ‘threatening letter’, despite earlier claims that he could not reveal the interfering country’s name as the results would be detrimental for Pakistan.

Also read Audio leaks exposed Imran’s ‘conspiracy’: PM

Imran had said that the letter stated that Pakistan would face serious consequences if the no-confidence motion failed, adding that the language of the letter was extremely harsh and that the no-trust motion had been mentioned in it several times.

It may be noted that in April, the National Security Committee (NSC) had concluded that no evidence of “foreign conspiracy” to topple Imran Khan’s government has been found. Welcoming the NSC’s statement, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter had maintained that the US had said “all along” that there was “absolutely no truth to those rumours”.


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