ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Dr Arif Alvi has said he was “not convinced” there was a foreign conspiracy to oust ex-premier Imran Khan from office but that he believed the matter needed to be investigated properly and he had written a letter to the chief justice of the country in this regard.
A diplomatic cipher is at the center of Khan’s allegations that his ouster in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence this April was part of a regime change conspiracy hatched by the United States in connivance with Khan's local opponents, a charge both deny. Before its ouster, the Khan government handed an official protest to the US embassy over what it called Washington's interference in the country's affairs, referring to a diplomatic note from a Pakistani diplomat based on his meetings with US officials that Khan says is evidence of the foreign conspiracy.
“I have sent that letter [cipher] to the chief justice, I am convinced that it needs to be investigated,” Alvi said in an interview to a private news channel. “I am not convinced of the fact that there was a [foreign] conspiracy, but I have my doubts. There should be an investigation.”
“I have also said that you [investigators] won’t find a smoking gun, in such matters you don’t find them,” he said referring to the death in a plane crash of former army chief General Zia-ul-Haq and the assassination of Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, among other examples from political history.
“No one found out anything … So I requested the Supreme Court to [even look at] circumstantial evidence.”
The president’s statement is being widely seen as a blow to Khan’s narrative, as the ex-premier has continued, in massive countrywide rallies, to blame his ouster on the regime change conspiracy and called the administration of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif an "imported government."
Since the ouster, both Khan and his supporters have also expressed disappointment that the military and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa did not support him against the alleged foreign plot and block his ouster, calling it unfortunate that the military had preferred to be “neutral,” a euphemism to refer to the army being apolitical.
Asked if he believed the military was “neutral,” the president said:
“They [military] should be [neutral].”
But when questioned that Khan widely said the military was not apolitical, Alvi replied:
“You should ask Khan sahib what he means, he will be able to explain his opinion better, I can’t explain his opinions to you, neither am I his advocate.”