• Praises US’s role in supporting Pakistan to secure $3b IMF bailout package
  • Stresses maintaining good relations with Pakistan essential for global stability and security

ISLAMABAD: US Senator Chris Van Hollen on Sunday stated the US President Joe Biden-led administration has no intentions of interfering in the internal politics of Pakistan and denied all allegations of political engineering.

“I have been in contact with the Biden administration for a long time and can confidently say that there was no attempt made to engineer anything related to Pakistani politics,” the senator said while speaking with Pakistan journalists during the annual meeting and gala dinner of the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) chapter of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America.

The senator’s statement comes as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is being investigated regarding a diplomatic cipher that the party chief claimed contained the evidence of alleged US involvement in his ouster from power in April last year through a no-confidence vote.

Senator Hollen was the guest of honor at the ceremony, which was also attended by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Masood Khan. The event, meanwhile, became a platform for the American politician to address critical issues related to US-Pakistan relations and the role of the Biden administration in Pakistani politics.

He iterated that it is up to the people of Pakistan to decide their leaders and further expressed the need to ensure that the will of the Pakistani people is heard and reflected, advocating for free and fair elections.

Highlighting the global importance of transparent elections, the US senator said: “The US, other democracies, and the people of Pakistan have an interest in ensuring that elections are free and fair.”

Commenting on bilateral relations between the two countries, the senator affirmed the Biden administration’s desire for a strong partnership with Pakistan.

He spoke about the recent assistance provided by the US after the devastating floods in Pakistan as an example of the American government’s commitment towards the calamity-stricken nation.

He also praised the US’s role in supporting Pakistan to secure the $3 billion International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout package.

The senator underlined the significance of maintaining good relations with Pakistan, stressing that such relations were essential for global stability and security.

The cypher controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Khan — just days before his ouster after a no-confidence motion against him — brandished a letter, claiming that it was a cipher from a foreign nation, which mentioned that his government should be removed from power.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor mention the name of the nation that had sent it. But a few days later, he named the United States and said that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal.

The cipher was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Asad Majeed’s meeting with Lu.

The former prime minister, claiming that he was reading contents from the cipher, said that “all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power”.

Then on March 31, the NSC took up the matter and decided to issue a “strong demarche” to the country for its “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.

 

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