US Congressional hearing: Donald Lu rubbishes PTI founder’s cipher ‘conspiracy theory’

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US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu once again rejected former prime minister Imran Khan s cipher allegations and termed it as a “conspiracy theory, lie and complete falsehood”.

Testifying today before a subcommittee of the US panel, Lu said: “Imran Khan s cipher conspiracy theory is a lie [and]  it is a complete falsehood.”

“It is not accurate. At no point does it accuse the US government or me personally of taking steps against Imran Khan. And thirdly, the other person in the meeting, the then-ambassador of Pakistan to the US, has testified to his own government that there was no conspiracy.”

The hearing titled Pakistan After the elections: Examining the future of Democracy in Pakistan and the US Pakistan relationship, was announced by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee where Lu was questioned about the allegations and his assessment of them.

Lu further said that then Pakistan’s envoy to Washington Asad Majeed also testified to his government that there was no conspiracy.

“We respect the sovereignty of Pakistan, we respect the principle that Pakistani people should be the only ones to choose their leader through democratic process,” he remarked.

Pakistan election rigging allegations

In his address to the Congress hearing, Donald Lu reiterated the US State Department s concerns on electoral abuses and violence regarding the Feb 8 Pakistan general elections.

“We were particularly concerned about electoral abuses and violence that happened in the weeks leading up to the polls,” he said, pointing to the attacks on police, politicians and political gatherings by terrorist groups; harassment and abuse of journalists, particularly female journalists, by political party supporters and lastly, “several political leaders were disadvantaged by the inability to register specific candidates and political parties.”

Read more: US Rejects Allegations Against Donald Lu

Lu also said that authorities shut down internet services despite a high court order not to interrupt internet on election day.

“Despite the threat of violence, over 60 million Pakistanis voted, including over 21m women. Voters elected 50 per cent more women to Parliament than they had in 2018.

“In addition to record numbers of female candidates, there were also a record number of members of religious and minority groups and young people running for seats in their Parliament.”

“More than 5,000 independent election observers were in the field. Their organisations conclusion was that the conduct of the elections was largely competitive and orderly while noting some irregularities in the compilation of results.”

“We as a partner of Pakistan have called for that to be done transparently and fully and for those found responsible for irregularities to be held accountable. We can see a process whereby that is happening,” he added.

The US diplomat further said that the ECP had formed a high-level committee sifting through thousands of petitions complaining “about the rigging in Feb 8 general elections”.

It is pertinent to mention here that the former Pakistani prime minister publicly accused the US diplomat of delivering a warning to the then-Pakistani ambassador in Washington, Asad Majeed, suggesting that the removal of Khan from office would help improve ties.

Khan and his PTI government were removed from power in April 2022 through a vote of no confidence, a first in Pakistan s history.

Since then, the US has repeatedly denied Imran Khan s allegation that it was involved in any conspiracy to remove him from PM office.

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