China Backs 'Political Stability' in Islamabad, Pakistan FM Says Amid Claims of US Interference

© REUTERS / SAIYNA BASHIRPakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan June 4, 2021.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan June 4, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.03.2022
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf party was dealt a major blow on Wednesday when its ally the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) withdrew its support for the government ahead of Thursday's no-confidence vote. Presently, Khan’s government is left with the support of 164 lawmakers, while the opposition is now comprised of 177 members.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has thanked Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for Beijing's “consistent support to political stability" in the South Asian country, an official statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.
“The two Foreign Ministers exchanged views on bilateral strategic, economic and security cooperation; COVID-19 pandemic; peace, stability and development in Afghanistan; and regional and international issues of mutual interest,” said the Pakistani release.
The two chief diplomats met on the sidelines of the “Third Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighbouring Countries” in the eastern Chinese city of Huangsha in Anhui province.
As per the Pakistani official communique, Qureshi told Wang that ties with China were the “cornerstone” of Islamabad’s foreign policy, as he pledged to further deepen bilateral relations between the two Asian nations.
Qureshi also “reiterated” his government’s support for the One-China policy during the meeting, as per the statement.
The meeting is the second between Wang and Qureshi this month.
The Chinese foreign minister was also invited to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers' meeting in Islamabad on 15 March as a “special guest."
Both meetings come against the backdrop of political turmoil in Pakistan, where Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is all set to face a no-confidence motion submitted by a united opposition on 8 March.
The opposition's effort to remove Khan from power is being spearheaded by Shahbaz Sharif, the leader of the federal opposition and the chair of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).
On 28 March, Pakistan’s National Assembly voted in favour of adopting the no-confidence motion, which is expected to come up for a vote before Friday (1 April).

An embattled Khan has alleged that foreign entities have been employing local politicians to “influence the country’s foreign policy."

At a public meeting in Islamabad on 27 March, Khan even brandished a letter to his thousands of supporters. He claimed that the letter was “evidence” to support his claims about a “foreign hand” trying to topple his government.
Meanwhile, Pakistani media reported on Thursday that the “evidence” cited by Khan was a letter from Asad Majeed Khan, Islamabad’s envoy to Washington.
Geo News quoted a Pakistani official as saying that the message contained feedback from senior American officials.
"This telegram message is real. Although its contents have not been shared, the message was that as long as the incumbent government is in power, there can be no substantial change in relations,” the official was quoted as saying.
There has been palpable friction between Prime Minister Khan and Joe Biden since last year, with the Pakistani leader reportedly upset with the US president for not calling him even once since assuming office.
In an interview with The Financial Times last year, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Moeed Yusuf warned that Islamabad had “other options if Biden continues to ignore the country’s leadership."
“The president of the United States hasn’t spoken to the prime minister of such an important country who the US itself says is make-or-break in some cases, in some ways, in Afghanistan — we struggle to understand the signal, right?” Yusuf had said back then.
However, Khan said later that month that he wasn’t “waiting” for a call from the US President.
"I keep hearing that President Biden hasn't called me. It's his business. It's not like I am waiting for any phone call," he said at a presser.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan June 4, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.12.2021
Imran Khan: Pakistan Must Help Bridge US-China Gaps Rather Than Joining 'Cold War-Style Bloc'
Khan has maintained that his government won't take sides in the emerging ‘Cold War’ between the US and China.
Pakistan was a major non-NATO ally of the US during its ‘War on Terror’ in Afghanistan from 2001 until its withdrawal from the country in August 2021.
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