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Russia has criticised the United States for its alleged interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, saying that Washington sought to punish a “disobedient” Imran Khan.

A statement issued by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Moscow had noted that President Dr Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on April 3 on the prime minister’s advice as well as the events preceding it.

“Immediately after the announcement of the working visit of Imran Khan to Moscow on February 23-24 this year, the Americans and their Western associates began to exert rude pressure on the prime minister, demanding an ultimatum to cancel the trip,” she said.

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“When he nevertheless came to us, [Lu] called the Pakistani ambassador in Washington and demanded that the visit be immediately interrupted, which was also rejected,” she stated.

“According to the Pakistani media, on March 7 this year, in a conversation with Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majid, a high-ranking American official (presumably the same Donald Lu) sharply condemned the balanced reaction of the Pakistani leadership to the events in Ukraine and made it clear that partnerships with the United States are possible only if Imran Khan is removed from power,” Zakharova said.

He said that Washington’s “another attempt of shameless interference” left no doubt that the US decided to punish Imran Khan, noting that PTI’s lawmakers joined the opposition while the no-confidence vote was submitted to Parliament.

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“The [Pakistan] prime minister himself has repeatedly stated that the conspiracy against him was inspired and financed from abroad. We hope that Pakistani voters will be informed about these circumstances when they come to the elections, which should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly,” she said.

Russia’s response comes after Imran Khan accused the US of making attempts to overthrow his regime.

Last week, the National Security Committee had decided to issue a “strong demarche to the country in question both in Islamabad and in the country’s capital through proper channel in keeping with diplomatic norms

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