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Imran Khan seeks decade-old Memogate-style probe by Pak SC into 'foreign conspiracy' to topple his government

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Islamabad, Apr 07: Pakistan's embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court to set up a Memogate-style judicial commission to probe an alleged "foreign conspiracy" to topple his democratically-elected government.

Imran Khan seeks Memogate-style probe by Pak SC into foreign conspiracy to topple his government

Khan has repeatedly claimed that a vote of no-confidence against him in the National Assembly tabled by the Opposition was part of a US-led conspiracy to remove him, but the US has denied this.

In a controversial move that has roiled the country, members of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party on Sunday blocked a vote of no-confidence in the Prime Minister and and got the President to dissolve Parliament. Furious Opposition politicians have now filed a petition to the Supreme Court to rule on whether the move to block the vote was constitutional. The apex court was initially expected to decide by the end of Monday, but delayed the decision until Thursday.

"It is the genuine aspiration/desire of the answering Respondent [Imran Khan] that this honourable court which has taken cognisance of this matter should hold inquisitorial proceedings as done in the "Memogate case" and constitute a high-powered commission of judges of the Superior Court. The Memogate involved Pakistan's then ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani who was alleged to have written an unsigned letter to a high-ranking American official in May 2011, exposing serious rifts between the then Pakistan Peoples Party-led government and the powerful Army. The Supreme Court constituted a bench to hear the controversial Memogate case.

In 2019, the apex court wrapped up the hearing. Haqqani denies playing any part in drafting the unsigned memo which sought US help in the event of a military coup in Pakistan. Haqqani resigned after the memo caused an outcry among Pakistan's military leadership.

In a statement of facts submitted to the apex court through his lawyers, Khan said the commission must analyse the incriminating evidence, take notice of the blatant horse-trading conducted by these corrupt politicians, some of whose family members are absconders of law and have taken refuge in safe heavens in the West. Well-placed officials of foreign governments commonly known as the "West" expressed their displeasure with the independent approach adopted by Khan and his cabinet, The Express Tribune newspaper quoted the statement as saying.

"This was followed by sensitive communications as well as gathered most sensitive intelligence by the security agencies of Pakistan which manifested that the movement led by the opposition was no longer indigenous or routine democratic effort, but was foreign sponsored," it says. It also alleges that the plot to unseat him was "aided as well as funded by those states which had become irritated/hostile to the struggle of the federal government to maintain an independent posture within the international community of the world."

Khan also states that various facts of the collected evidence were deliberated with anxiety and anguish within the meeting of the Cabinet. The same was followed by a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) held on March, 31, 2022.

"In this meeting a full deliberation/analysis took place and the most sensitive evidence gathered in this regard was considered; satisfaction was expressed about its authenticity and the grave threat it posed to the integrity of Pakistan and its institutions.

"The participants of the NSC were convinced that the ill-conceived movement of the opposition to dislodge the democratically elected government of the answering Respondent [Imran Khan] was foreign funded as well as supported; the object thereof was to defeat the national and international priorities fixed by the state of Pakistan," according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League Vice-President Maryam Nawaz has accused Khan of using the NSC meeting to save his "incompetent" government and to stay in power for a few more days. She also demanded that the security agencies who were part of the committee clarify their position on the alleged threat.

"The National Security Committee is not Imran bachao [Save Imran] committee," she stated while addressing a news conference in Lahore on Tuesday. She said Khan used the "national forum for political agendas" and that he created a "fake image" that the institutes are with him, she said.

"The letter, shown by the prime minister in the March 27 rally, was drafted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," she claimed.

She further called on the security agencies, whose heads had attended the NSC meeting in question, to clarify their position on the matter. Nawaz said that the main character behind the so-called 'threat letter', former ambassador to the US Asad Majid, was transferred to Belgium just a day before Khan came up with the conspiracy drama to gain public sympathy. Why is this letter not presented before the Supreme Court and the nation? In fact there is no such [threat] letter," she said.

"The letter was a drama that was why the ambassador [Majid] was transferred to Brussels overnight. This drama has completely been exposed," she added.

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