The United States has protested to Pakistan over a charge that it was financing the mass campaign by the Pakistani opposition parties to overthrow the Government.
The United States has protested to Pakistan over a charge that it was financing the mass campaign by the Pakistani opposition parties to overthrow the Government. The charge was originally made by Pakistan's Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, on Thursday (28 April). But the claims have also been denied by the leader of the opposition alliance - the Pir of Pagaro.
Only members of Mr. Bhutto's ruling Pakistan Peoples Party are attending Parliament at present. Many members of the opposition parties are being held in detention near the federal capital, Islamabad.
SYNOPSIS: There had been no signs of the statements that Mr. Bhutto was to make when members of parliament arrived at the National Assembly on Thursday. There were hopes that an end to the recent unrest was in sight after some Opposition members reviewed their preconditions for discussions with the Government. They had earlier demanded the resignation of Mr. Bhutto and a new general election date as conditions for discussions. But the Prime Minister has made it clear that he has no intention of resigning.
Mr. Bhutto said in Parliament that he had remained silent on the conspiracy charges for two months because he did not want to harm relations between the United States and Pakistan. Even now he felt no rancour, he said, and was ready for good relations. But the United States reacted angrily. Members of the Embassy in Islamabad said there were no grounds for the claims that Washington was behind the Opposition agitation. The embassy said the allegations were particularly disquieting because of a long history of friendly relations.
But Mr. Bhutto was uncompromising in his claims of foreign interference in his country's affairs. He said he would not be dictated to and had dealt with what he called foreign intrigues before. However, the leader of the nine-party opposition - the Pir of Pagaro - denied that his parties were being supported by money from abroad. He told newsmen in Rawalpindi of his plans for ending the present conflict.