ISLAMABAD: A government spokesperson on Sunday warned overseas Pakistanis that the government would clamp down against them if they promoted “anti-state agenda”.

Addressing a media briefing, Barrister Aqeel Malik, who is also the federal government’s spokesperson on legal affairs, claimed that PTI was “misusing” the Pakistani diaspora, who have a strong affiliation with the party, for its “clandestine motives”.

He demanded the party quit its “anti-state activities and propaganda” and hold dialogue with the government to find solutions to political issues “instead of damaging the nation’s interest at global forums”.He claimed PTI was orchestrating legislation in foreign countries which were damaging Pakistan’s interests.

“Pakistan is an independent country and does not take dictation from any nation. We want friendly relations with all countries,” Mr Malik said and claimed that a “concentrated smear campaign” against Pakistan started in foreign countries after PTI founder Imran Khan was ousted as prime minister by a vote of no confidence in 2022.

Barrister Aqeel says state will clamp down on overseas Pakistanis who are ‘pushing anti-state agenda’

He also accused the PTI of hiring lobbyists and PR firms to promote anti-Pakistan campaigns abroad.

Mr Malik referred to Resolution 901, tabled in the US Congress by Congressmen McCormick in November 2023, which had “all its links to PTI”.

The resolution condemned efforts “to subvert the political, electoral, or judicial processes of Pakistan” and urged the US president and secretary of state “to work with the Government of Pakistan” to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Mr Malik claimed that the resolution was tabled at PTI’s behest.

In May 2023, 65 congresspersons wrote a letter to the US secretary of defence “to prioritise the protection of human rights and democracy in Pakistan”.

The PML-N leader added that another 11 congress members wrote to the secretary of state in November 2023 to suspend US assistance to Pakistan, while 31 demanded Washington not recognise the government formed in Pakistan after the February 8 general election.

He claimed that these demands were pushed by PTI, which also hired lobbying and PR firms to “strongly promote anti-Pakistan propaganda”.

“PTI is running a concentrated malicious campaign against Pakistan. The amendments being moved by the PTI-influenced House of Representatives are all linked to anti-state elements,” he said and claimed that India also had a major role in these activities and it had joined PTI to work on an anti-Pakistan narrative.

He reiterated that the government was fully aware of the campaign and its perpetrators.

“You [PTI] cannot do opposition against the state as by doing so you are undermining it, and there is no tolerance for it.”

Mr Malik warned that no political party was above Pakistan and no anti-state agenda would be allowed by the state.

He urged the PTI to think about the country and motherland as it had “joined hands with Pakistan’s enemies” to perpetrate an “anti-Pakistan agenda for its political motives”.

“PTI is becoming a source of humiliation for the country at international forums. You are Pakistani, and we all are Pakistanis. We have to work for the country.”

“Nobody is stopping you from politics, but this negative and inimical politics would not be allowed”, Mr Malik warned.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2024

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