The meetings of ambassadors of United States and China with Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan have fuelled speculation as to the messages delivered by the governments of the two countries with major economic and political ties with Pakistan. According to PTI insiders privy to these meetings, the diplomats were particularly concerned about the political situation that may emerge due to PTI’s upcoming November 30 rally, besides discussing matters of mutual interests.
Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, while responding to a question by Business Recorder, said that “diplomats everywhere interact with political figures directly”. But according to former Pakistani diplomats, foreign diplomats can meet the political leadership to present their respective governments’ agendas but not to offer mediation in a political crisis. “Foreign diplomats can meet any political leader and can discuss agendas of their governments regarding bilateral relations with the host countries. But unfortunately, the practice of mediation by foreign diplomats and the foreign countries in Pakistan’s political crisis is not an unusual phenomenon,” said former Ambassador Asif Eszdi.
Another former diplomat and ex- Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told Business Recorder that there was no protocol barring foreign diplomats from meeting political leaders. However, he refused to comment on whether foreign diplomats could offer to mediate in a host country’s political crisis. A spokesperson for the US Embassy, when asked for comments, said: “We have consistently said that the US encourages the [political] parties to work together to resolve differences through peaceful dialogue in ways that strengthen Pakistan’s democracy and rule of law”.
“We have been carefully monitoring the demonstration in Islamabad,” she said, adding that Ambassador Olson meets regularly with a broad spectrum of Pakistani officials, community and religious leaders. According to PTI’s central secretary information, Shireen Mazari, the meeting of Imran Khan with Ambassador Olson was held on the request of the latter. She also rejected the speculation that Imran Khan had urged the US Ambassador to stop supporting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and that he had sought US help in calling for snap polls.
“Absolute rubbish about IK [Imran Khan], asking Olsen to stop supporting NS [Nawaz Sharif] & to help get fresh elections. PTI opposes US interference in our domestic politics,” Mazari twitted. She further said that PTI believes in using legal means and people’s power to put pressure on the government to get justice against rigging in the last year’s general elections – a demand which does not need any foreign interference.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT