Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Thursday confirmed he had met U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome and other senior officials of the U.S. Embassy, with their discussions focusing on the “worsening human rights situation” in the country.
In a posting on Twitter, Fawad said he had a “good” meeting with the U.S. officials. “The worsening human rights situation in Pakistan was a particular focus of discussion,” he said. “I apprised U.S. officials on PTI concerns on misuse of anti-terrorism and blasphemy laws by the PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement] government against political opponents,” he continued.
According to Fawad, Pakistan’s prevailing political situation and the PTI’s position on various issues were also discussed. “Such meetings are part of mutual desire to have relationship based on equality and well-being of people,” he added.
Fawad’s meeting with the U.S. reflects the PTI’s desire to reverse its accusations of Washington instigating a “regime change conspiracy” that led to Imran Khan’s ouster as prime minister in April 2022. In recent weeks, Khan has sought to backtrack from his allegations by accusing former Army chief Gen. (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa of plotting to oust his government, telling an interviewer that Bajwa had “exported” the “regime change conspiracy” to the U.S.
Despite describing the ruling coalition as the “imported government”—a reference to claims that it was installed through help from the U.S.—Khan has not shied from continuing to meet—and secure support—from envoys of the same country that he accuses of plotting his downfall. Last year, in September, he met former U.S. diplomat Robin Raphel at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad, while Fawad separately met Donald Blome at the U.S. Embassy.
The party’s government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa hosted Blome in August 2022, receiving vehicles from the U.S. official, and also giving him an aerial tour of the Torkham border. Reflecting the PTI’s internal confusion over its policy toward the U.S., the visit was criticized by the PTI’s own Shireen Mazari, who appeared to not realize that it was facilitated by her own party’s government.