Marriyum refuses to let Imran off the hook over ‘foreign conspiracy’ remarks

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb took rival party chief Imran Khan to task on Monday over his 'U-turn' on the ‘foreign conspiracy narrative’ wherein he accused the US of engineering his ouster from power by supporting the then opposition’s no-confidence motion in April this year.

In an interview with Financial Times, published a day ago, Imran had signalled a desire to work with Washington saying he wants to mend relations with the US despite accusing it of treating Pakistan as a "slave".

The former premier had said he no longer “blamed” the US and wants a “dignified” relationship if re-elected.

Read COAS appointment: Imran’s shifting scales

“As far as I’m concerned it’s over, it’s behind me,” he said of the alleged conspiracy, which both PM Shehbaz Sharif and the US deny. “The Pakistan I want to lead must have good relationships with everyone, especially the United States,” he had said.

Reacting to the statements issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that "the issue is not going to disappear by sweeping it under the rug; you will be held answerable for this."

عمران خان امریکی سازش کا بیانیہ پسِ پشت ڈالنے سے بات ختم نہیں ہو گی ، آپ کو جواب دینا پڑے گا جس بیانیہ پہ پورے ملک میں انتشار اور جھوٹ پھیلایا، جواب دئیے بغیر صرف دستبرداری کافی نہیں آج عمران سے سوال نہیں بلکہ آج عمران کی بات پہ یقین کرنے والوں کے لئے سوالیہ نشان ہے #Liar
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 14, 2022

“Simply withdrawing from the statements that were used to spread chaos and lies without answering for them will not be enough,” she added, saying that his changed stance on the alleged ‘US conspiracy’ was now a “question mark for those who believed the liar, the foreign-funded instigator who played with the national interest”.

جھوٹے ، ملکی مفاد سے کھیل کھیلنے والے فارن فنڈد فتنے کی بات سُننے والوں کے لئے سوالیہ نشان ہے پارلیمان کو ، افواجِِ پاکستان کو ، اداروں کو غدار ٹھہرا کر صرف یہ کہہ کر کہ it's behind me and it's over " اور بات ختم ؟ ایسے نہیں عمران خان ایسے نہیں
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 14, 2022

“Just saying “it’s behind me and it’s over” after calling the parliament, the armed forces of Pakistan and institutions as traitors will wrap up the matter?” she retorted, adding that “no way Imran Khan, no way”.

Read more Imran compromises national interests for personal political gains: Marriyum

She also alleged that the PTI chief had "made constitutional institutions break the Constitution to cover up his lies".

اپنے جھوٹ کے لئے آئینی عہدوں سے آئین شکنی کروائی عمران خان ملک کو تہس نہس کر کے آج امریکی سازش کے بیانیہ سے دستبردار ہو گئے ہیں عمران خان نے اپنے حامیوں کو پاگل اور بھیڑ بکریاں سمجھ رکھا ہے
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 14, 2022

"After destroying the country, Imran Khan has withdrawn from the US conspiracy narrative," the minister stressed, saying that Imran "thinks his supporters are insane and sheep".

"Imran Khan has withdrawn from the 'US conspiracy', 'imported government' and 'regime change' narrative because it was never true to begin with," she claimed.

عمران خان نے امریکی سازش ، امپورٹڈ حکومت اور ریجیم چینج کا بیانیہ پسِ پشت اِس لئے ڈالا کیونکہ وہ کبھی موجود تھا ہی نہیں
عمران خان آج امپورٹڈ حکومت اور ریجیم چینج کے جھوٹے بیانیہ سے دستبردار ہوگئے ہیں
آج نام نہاد "حقیقی آزادی" کا اصل چہرہ مکمل طور پر بے نقاب ہو گیا ہے
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 14, 2022

"Today the true face of the so-called 'Haqeeqi Azadi' [true freedom] has been unveiled," she added. Marriuym also went on to say that the former prime minister had put "Pakistan's foreign relations in grave danger" and "played a treacherous game with national interest" merely in "his lust for power".

عمران خان نے اقتدار کی خاطر پاکستان کے خارجہ تعلقات کو سنگین خطرات میں ڈالا عمران خان نے ہوس اقتدار میں ملکی مفادات کے ساتھ سنگین کھیل کھیلا،چالیں چلیں اقتدار کی ہوس میں ملک اور قوم کو داﺅ پر لگا دیا قوم کو جھوٹ سکھا کر اب کہتے ہیں کہ امریکی سازش والی بات ختم؟
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 14, 2022

She questioned how the PTI chief could "just say that the US conspiracy matter was over after teaching lies to the entire nation" and "filing appeals in the Supreme Court".

سپریم کورٹ کو اپیلیں کرتے رہے اور اب امریکی سازش والی بات ختم؟ عمران خان نے اپنے جھوٹ سے نہ صرف قومی سلامتی کو خطرے میں ڈالا بلکہ پاکستان کے خارجہ تعلقات کو بھی تباہ کرنے کی سازش کی عمران خان نے اپنے سیاسی مفادات کے لئے ملکی مفادات کے ساتھ سنگین کھیل کھیلا
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 14, 2022

'Mother of all U-Turns'

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman termed the PTI chief's statements to the foreign newspaper "mother of all U-Turns" and questioned "who is responsible for all damage caused to the country's diplomatic ties by his false narrative?"

یو ٹرن خان نے اپنی دوہری سیاسی تاریخ کا سب سے بڑا یو ٹرن لے لیا ہے۔ مفروضی بیرونی سازش کا ڈھونگ رچا کر پاکستان کو سفارتی نقصان پہنچا کر اب کہتے ہیں سائفر کا معاملہ پیچھے رہ گیا ہے اب الزام نہیں لگائوں گا۔ ان کے جھوٹے بیانیے سے ملک کو جو سفارتی نقصان ہوا اس کا ذمہ دار کون ہے؟ 1/3
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) November 14, 2022

She also added that "the audio leak has clearly proven that Imran Khan fabricated a false narrative on the cipher issue and also planned to "play" on it."

آڈیو لیک میں صاف ظاہر ہو چکا ہے کہ عمران خان نے سائفر کے معاملے پر من گھڑت اور جھوٹا بیانیہ بنایا اور اس پر "کھیلنے" کی بھی منصوبہ بندی کی۔ اب کہہ رہے یہ ماضی کا معاملہ ہے، جلسوں میں اسی بیانیہ پر انہوں نے ملکی اداروں کے خلاف الزام لگائے اور نفرت پھیلائی ۔ 2/3
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) November 14, 2022

The senator also said that "this is not the case of 35 Puncture which could later be dismissed as a political statement. It was a matter of national security that Imran Khan will have to account for."

یہ بیانیے کی دوڑ میں ملک کے مفاد کو بھی پیچھے چھوڑ دیتے۔عمران خان اب سائفر کے معاملے سے دستبردار ہونے کی کوشش نا کریں۔یہ 35 پنچر کا معاملہ نہیں جو بعد میں کہیں سیاسی بیان تھا۔ یہ قومی سلامتی کا معاملہ تھا جس کا عمران خان کو حساب دینا ہوگا۔ اس معاملے پر اب یو ٹرن قابل قبول نہی۔3/3
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) November 14, 2022

"U-turn on this matter is not acceptable now," she stressed.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also took to Twitter to take a dig at the PTI chief saying "all that noise about foreign conspiracy and the imported government is now over".
بیرونی مداخلت اور امپورٹڈ
حکومت کا رولا ختم.. امریکہ کے ترلے شروع. فرماتے ھیں"کہ جہاں تک میرا تعلق ھے یہ معاملہ ختم ھے یہ اب میرے پیچھے رہ گیا ھے".
— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) November 13, 2022


He further alleged that now Imran had "begun begging the US".

PML-N leader Hina Parvez Butt, adding to the criticism said that Imran's "drama of foreign conspiracy and imported government has fizzled out after surfacing of his purportedly leaked audios."

Imran Khan knows that he has been exposed as his drama of foreign conspiracy and imported government has fizzled out after surfacing of his purportedly leaked audios. He not only compromised on the national interest but also transgressed the Constitution.

— Hina Parvez Butt (@hinaparvezbutt) November 14, 2022

"He not only compromised on the national interest but also transgressed the Constitution," she added.

"What 'real freedom' are PTI's 'real fraudsters' looking for?' she questioned in another tweet.

پی ٹی آئی والے حقیقی فراڈیے کے ہوتے ہوئے کونسی حقیقی آذادی تلاش کر رہے ہیں؟؟ ابھی بھی وقت ہے، آنکھیں کھولیں،اور اس فراڈیے کو پہچانیں، جو صبح کچھ، دوپہر کو کچھ اور رات کو کچھ اور کہتا ہے۔۔یہ فراڈیا آپکو صرف بیوقوف بنا سکتا ہے اور کچھ نہیں دے سکتا۔۔۔ #حقیقی_فراڈیا
— Hina Parvez Butt (@hinaparvezbutt) November 14, 2022

"There is still time," she added, urging his supporters to "open your eyes, and recognise this fraud, who says one thing in the morning, another at noon and something else at night".

On the other hand, senior journalist Hamid Mir while taking in all of Imran's recent statements to foreign media, said that he believed Imran was "on damage control". He interpreted the seemingly contradictory statements as being indicative of "him realising that the foreign conspiracy narrative that he had constructed is causing them a lot of damage".

"Assuming they do form a majority government," he said while speaking on local media, "how would that government work with the international community, with IMF, Wolrd Bank, with US and European Union?"

"I believe his main fight is in Pakistan, he has opened a lot of fronts in the country, he has named a lot of names in the armed forces of Pakistan, so as part of his long-term strategy he is trying to improve ties with the US," he added.

The journalist also revealed that Imran's representatives were "meeting with people" in not just the US but also the UK and Brussels for lobbying. However, Hamid Mir anticipated that taking his words back "will inevitably cause a lot of damage" too. "The people do not forget so easily," he added.

'Words deliberately distorted'

Nonetheless, senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari claimed that Imran's words were being "deliberately distorted".

Once again to the journos writing for English papers here & for editorials in the same atleast actually read & understand IK never denied US regime change conspiracy. All he is saying is it happened, is behind us & we r moving forward. Delib distortion of IK words!Such dishonesty
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 14, 2022

Taking a dig at journalists "writing for English papers" in Pakistan, she said that the media persons should "at least actually read and understand" what the PTI chief had stated in his interview. "All he is saying is it happened," she clarified, "it is behind us and we are moving forward".

PTI leader Hammad Azhar, sharing the picture of a headline carried by an English daily stated that, "Headline twisting & angling has taken extreme forms in Pakistan these days. Domestic arm-twisting, strong editorial prejudices and international aid flows to media outlets in Pakistan combine to create ridiculous headlines."


Shortly before his impending ouster from the government, former prime minister Imran Khan waved a secret letter at his public rally in Islamabad on March 27, claiming that there was an international conspiracy to topple his government.

He termed the no-confidence motion against him a “huge foreign conspiracy against Pakistan” and soon after revealed that the US had sent the ‘threatening letter’, despite earlier claims that he could not reveal the interfering country’s name as the results would be detrimental for Pakistan.

Also read Audio leaks exposed Imran’s ‘conspiracy’: PM

Imran had said that the letter stated that Pakistan would face serious consequences if the no-confidence motion failed, adding that the language of the letter was extremely harsh and that the no-trust motion had been mentioned in it several times.

It may be noted that in April, the National Security Committee (NSC) had concluded that no evidence of “foreign conspiracy” to topple Imran Khan’s government has been found. Welcoming the NSC’s statement, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter had maintained that the US had said “all along” that there was “absolutely no truth to those rumours”.

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