Pakistan PM: Foreign forces conspiring against my government

Islamabad, March 27 (EFE).- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday accused “foreign forces” of providing funding to replace his government with the help of people inside the country.

The premier made his remarks while addressing a rally in the capital of Islamabad, where thousands of his supporters and party workers gathered to show their support for him as a pending no-confidence vote in Parliament will decide his fate within the next few days.

“In our country, with the help of foreign money, an attempt is being made to replace our government,” Khan said, adding that “the money is foreign but (the) people who are being used are our own people.”

“Now, the nation has to decide whether it will let them succeed or not,” he added.

The PM said that “we know from what places attempts are being made to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest.”

“I am not accusing, I have this letter as proof,” Khan added showing a letter to his audience.

He said he was informed of the “conspiracy” a few months back, adding that his government is pursuing an independent foreign policy which some “foreign forces” don’t want.

“Now the times have changed. We will not accept anyone’s slavery,” the premier said, adding, “We will make everyone our friends (but) will not be their slaves.”

In his speech, the prime minister referred to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was hanged in 1979 in a controversial murder case by military ruler Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.

“Zulfikar Bhutto was killed for having an independent foreign policy,” Khan, a former cricket star, said.

An alliance of opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM), submitted a no-confidence motion against the PM in Parliament on March 8.

Opposition leaders from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Pakistan People’s Party and religious political party Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) have been approaching Khan’s allies for support in the vote.

To date, the coalition partners in Khan’s government have not announced their support for the no-confidence motion.

Khan needs 172 votes in the 342-member house to get a simple majority to retain office. His party, along with his coalition partners and independent members hold 179 seats, thus putting him over the threshold by eight votes, provided he can count on all those lawmakers for their support.

However, more than a dozen lawmakers from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party have spoken openly against the government, blaming Khan for not delivering on the promises he made before the election that brought him to power.

A crucial session of the National Assembly, or lower house of Parliament, will be held on Monday and expectations are that the no-confidence motion will be discussed the same day. As per prevailing rules for such moves, the speaker of the house must set the day for the vote within seven days of finalizing debate on the motion.

The PML (N) is currently heading a march from the city of Lahore to Islamabad, and the party has announced a rally in the capital on Monday. As of the filing of this report, the marchers are in the eastern city of Gujranwala.

EFE aa-daa/vh/bp

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