The cable that was sent to Islamabad mentioning Donald Lu’s observation on Imran Khan’s Moscow visit was based on the notes taken by an embassy official who was present at the farewell lunch of former ambassador Asad Majeed.
The cable that former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan cited as evidence of a foreign conspiracy behind the no-confidence motion which toppled his government has an interesting background story that originated at a farewell lunch meet but ended with allegations of conspiracy, Dawn reported.
According to the Dawn report, the conversation among US officials and Pakistan’s then ambassador Asad Majeed, which later rattled the PTI government, took place on March 7 at Asad Majeed Khan’s residence known as Pakistan House. It was a farewell lunch for Asad Majeed but a note-taker whose job was to take notes from the exchange between the ambassador and the US officials was also present there. The cable that Majeed later sent to Islamabad was based on the notes taken by the notetaker of the Pakistan Embassy.
The discussion at the lunch party mostly revolved around the Russia-Ukraine crisis in the context of which the US side expressed ‘disappointment’ with Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow on the very day the war began, the report said. As Asad Majeed explained that the decision that Imran Khan would continue his planned Moscow visit was taken collectively as Pakistan was trying for a Moscow visit for years, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu said Washington believed that the final decision to go ahead with the visit rested with Imran Khan.
Then the conversation, according to the Dawn report, veered toward Pakistan’s situation. “Mr Lu pointed out that Washington was keenly watching the situation and the outcome of the no-trust move against the then prime minister would impact US-Pakistan relations as well,” the Dawn report said.
All this conversation was duly noted by the person who was taking the notes and then featured in the cable that Islamabad received from its embassy in Pakistan.
The Dawn report, citing sources, said though Donald Lu did not threaten a regime change, his arguments were “alarming and far from routine”.
While the White House dismissed all these allegations, Pakistan’s all-powerful military also denied the use of the word ‘conspiracy’. It said the statement issued by the National Security Committee of Pakistan did not mention ‘conspiracy’.
Over 40 Afghan civilians, including children, were killed after Pakistani aircraft launched airstrikes in different parts of Khost and Kunar provinces on Friday night, according to Afghanistan’s independent peace watchdog, a journalist and the founder of Afghan peace watch, Habib Khan. The local officials on Saturday of the Khost and Kunar provinces confirmed that the Pakistani aircraft launched the airstrikes on different parts of the provinces.
Russia has warned Ukrainian forces fighting to defend Mariupol to surrender starting 8.30 am IST to save their lives. Moscow claims to have secured most urban areas but a small band of fighters remain inside a steelworks factory in the city, news agency AFP reported. Mariupol has been the scene of some of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in this war. There was no immediate response from Kyiv. Moscow claimed to have captured it on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s army denied speculation it is planning to crack down on protesters seeking the ouster of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Citizens have occupied the sea face opposite Rajapaksa’s office for eight straight days, accusing him and his brother, the Prime Minister, of misrule leading to the island’s worst economic crisis in decades. Rajapaksa — a former military officer and ex-Defense Secretary credited with crushing a three-decade civil war — has been defiant.
As Russia and Ukraine enter day 53 of the war, Moscow renewed air strikes on Kyiv on Saturday. Russia also claimed to have taken over Mariupol, the port city on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine. Mariupol has seen the worst fighting of the seven-week-long war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that peace talks with Moscow will be scrapped if the last Ukrainian troops in the besieged port city of Mariupol are killed.
As a purported photo of Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan walking out of a private jet went viral on social media with various claims about the ownership of the jet, Karachi-based Engro Corporation put out a statement claiming the ownership of the plane. According to Pakistani media, Imran Khan sold Toshakhana gifts worth Pakistani rupees 140 million in Dubai. Pakistani media claimed Imran Khan either skipped the payment or paid a negligible amount.