Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday called for the sacking of United States (US) Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Donald Lu for “sheer arrogance and bad manners”.

In an interview with CNN, Khan said the US diplomat told Pakistan’s ambassador that unless “you get Imran Khan removed in a vote of no-confidence — which was not tabled but he seemed to know about it — Pakistan will suffer consequences”.

“And then goes on to say, of course, if you get rid of him through the vote of no-confidence, all will be forgiven — such arrogance […] by the way Becky, this guy should be sacked for bad manners and sheer arrogance,” Khan told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

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Anchorperson Becky Anderson asked Khan if he had gotten in touch with the US president or state secretary regarding the matter. Khan did not answer, instead of saying that the National Security Council (NSC) meeting had decided to issue a demarche and a protest was registered to the US in Pakistan and Washington.

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Anderson said the US had “rubbished” the notion that it was involved in a regime change in Pakistan and asked Khan if he genuinely believed his claim of there being a foreign conspiracy to topple his government.

“What were they meeting [US officials] for? They were the first ones to jump ship and they were the ones who then offered million dollars each to buy my other MNAs who jumped ship later on. Why would the US embassy be interested in our party backbenchers?” said Khan.

Anderson questioned Khan’s visit to Russia, adding that “the optics didn’t and don’t look good, do they?” To which Khan responded, “They didn’t but let me explain to you. This visit was planned a long time back and all stakeholders in Pakistan were onboard. The military wanted Russian hardware, we wanted oil, there was a gas pipeline which was being negotiated for the past six years before my government came in … how would I have known that the day I land in Moscow, President [Vladimir] Putin would decide to go into Ukraine?”