Imran Khan Rubbishes Reports Of Saudi Involvement In Regime Change

PTI distances itself from Sher Afzal Marwat, and notes how Saudi Arabia provided funds to Pakistan and facilitated the OIC summit in Islamabad in weeks and months before regime change

Imran Khan Rubbishes Reports Of Saudi Involvement In Regime Change

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its founder, Imran Khan, have distanced themselves from allegations that Saudi Arabia was part of what they claim was a movement to push them out of government and bring about a regime change.

Days before a vote of no-confidence was to be held in the parliament in April 2022, Imran Khan had addressed a public rally in Islamabad in which he had waved a piece of paper, claiming it to be a classified cable from the then Pakistani Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan, which he claimed contained proof of a US-led conspiracy to push him out of power. Later, Imran blamed former Chief of Army Staff General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa for failing to stop the vote or ending in the result it did.

Recently, during the Saudi Foreign Minister's visit to Islamabad, PTI leader and MNA Sher Afzal Marwat claimed in a television programme that Saudi Arabia was also part of the regime change conspiracy because Imran Khan had dared to create a forward bloc of Muslim countries and threatened to break away from Saudi hegemony as the de facto leader of the Muslim world. Later, Marwat retracted his stance.

But now, Imran has issued a statement rubbishing Marwat's assertions.

Speaking with PTI leaders in Adiala Jail on Thursday, Imran Khan used his time to clarify that Saudi Arabia did not have anything to do with his ouster.

Among others, he had approved the names of Senator Shibli Faraz, Rauf Hassan, Advisor to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Finance Muzzamil Aslam, Naeem Haider Panjotha, Sahibzada Hamdi Raza, Sheikh Waqas, Akram and Atif Khan for meeting in the jail. However, the jail authorities did not allow Sheikh Akram to meet with Imran Khan.

Following their meeting, the PTI leaders explained that Marwat had issued a statement attributing it to Imran Khan when Imran knew nothing about it. Moreover, they strongly refuted any connection between regime change and Saudi Arabia.

Muzzamil Aslam said that before Imran Khan's ouster from power, Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan $2 billion to overcome financial difficulties. If Saudi Arabia was against Imran Khan and PTI's government, why would they invest in Pakistan, he asked rhetorically.

He added that when Imran was informed of Marwat's statement and the alleged subsequent propaganda against Imran and the party on it, the financial advisor said Imran chuckled and said that a few months before he left office, he had visited Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman directed to deposit $3 billion in Pakistani accounts without any insistence from him. Moreover, a $1-$2 billion facility was also extended.

Then, a week before his government fell, Imran said that Saudi Arabia made it possible to hold a second summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

Hassan claimed that Imran would soon be out of jail and would once again become the country's prime minister.

Hamid Raza said that they discussed the political scenario, and it was decided that Senator Shibli Faraz would be the leader of the opposition in the Senate.  

On the reported Grand Opposition Alliance, he said that a meeting will be held on April 29 to decide on a schedule for protest rallies. The protests against the government will commence from Punjab.