Pakistan’s political upheaval due to domestic factors: UK minister

Published May 26, 2022
PM Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting with British High Commissioner Turner and UK  Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey.
PM Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting with British High Commissioner Turner and UK Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey.

ISLAMABAD: UK Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey on Wed­nesday said Pakistan’s political uphea­val was because of domestic factors rather than some sinister foreign plot and looked relieved that there was now a convergence of views on international order.

The British minister, while talking to journalists at a virtual session during his visit to Islamabad, said: “What is happening in Pakistan at the moment politically is entirely the consequence of Pakistan’s domestic politics. And any suggestion that there is somehow some sort of outside interference is utterly fanciful.”

Mr Heappey’s comments came as PTI’s long march was under way. PTI chairman Imran Khan believes that the US conspired with local elements to dislodge his government because of his visit to Moscow to strengthen bilateral relations with Russia. Washington has already denied the allegation.

Mr Heappey said the UK was “disappointed” with Mr Khan’s visit to Moscow and had then communicated the same to the then government.

The visiting UK minister after his meetings in Islamabad, including one with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, said he was of the opinion that Pakistan government agreed with the British government views about sovereignty and territorial integrity and that Russia was the “aggressor”.

“Certainly, the Pakistan government agrees that. It matters a great deal. Of course it does,” he asserted.

About his meeting with PM Sharif, he said, the prime minister was interested to hear that “our security and defence concerns continue to align”.

Mr Sharif was, moreover, interested to know about London’s growing ties with India and its potential implications for UK-Pakistan relations.

“He was very keen to understand from me that that doesn’t reflect any sort of change in enthusiasm for the relationship with Pakistan. And of course it doesn’t,” Mr Heappey said.

PM Office in a statement said that Mr Sharif underscored the urgency of taking steps to avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan saying that wellbeing of 40m Afghans should be a key priority.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2022

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