Urging jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s party to quit its “anti-state activities and propaganda”, the government has warned that it would clamp down on those involved in running anti-state smear campaigns on social media in a bid to damage the country’s ties with friendly nations.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, legal affairs spokesperson Aqeel Malik said there was no precedent to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) “enmity as it was perpetrating anti-Pakistan legislation in foreign countries”, the Geo News reported.

“Pakistan is an independent country and does not take dictation from any nation. We want friendly relations with all nations. However, a concentrated smear campaign against Pakistan in foreign countries that started after the 2022 vote of no confidence which mounted the anti-Pakistan propaganda,” he said.

Malik alleged that PTI has hired lobbyists and PR firms to promote anti-Pakistan campaigns abroad and warned that the government would clamp down on those involved in running anti-state campaigns on social media in a bid to damage Pakistan’s ties with friendly countries.

The spokesperson urged PTI to quit its “anti-state activities and propaganda” and hold dialogue with the government on political issues to mull over solutions instead of damaging the nation’s interest at global forums, the report said.

Malik claimed, “All anti-Pakistan legislation is done on the behest of PTI and overseas Pakistani diaspora who have strong affiliation with this party are being misused for this clandestine motive of PTI.” Khan-led PTI has questioned the outcome of the February 8 general elections in Pakistan, alleging that its mandate from the people was “stolen” by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, Pakistan Peoples Party and its allies, who formed a coalition government to keep the former prime minister out of power.

Citing examples, he said in May 2023, 65 American congressmen wrote a letter to the US Secretary of Defence to prioritise the promotion of the protection of human rights and democracy in Pakistan. Again in November 2023, 11 congressmen wrote a letter to the US Secretary of State “to suspend US assistance to Pakistan. Thirty-one congressmen wrote to the US Secretary of State and President to not recognise the government of Pakistan formed after February 2024”.

Malik asserted that all these tactics were done by PTI and it was hiring lobbying and PR firms to strongly promote anti-Pakistan propaganda.

“PTI is running a malicious concentrated campaign against Pakistan. The amendments being moved by the PTI-influenced House of Representatives are all linked to anti-state and country enemy elements as India also has a major role in it and they are joining PTI to work on the anti-Pakistan narrative,” he said.

Underlining that no political party is above the country, Malik warned PTI that the government won’t allow “anti-state agenda and narrative” and “there is no acceptability and tolerance for it”.

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