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Imran Khan's PTI hires firm to 'improve image' in US: Report

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Islamabad | August 13, 2022 10:28:38 PM IST
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) has hired a public relations firm to improve its image in the United States, local media reported on Saturday.

The firm was hired by PTI's US chapter, a report in Dawn newspaper said.

Notably, the image of Imran Khan's party has been portrayed as anti-America since April, when he accused Washington of backing efforts to overthrow his government through a no-confidence motion.

Following his ouster in April, Khan and his party have been running a systematic campaign on the narrative that the US-backed "local abettors" worked to topple his government through a conspiracy, and install an administration of the foreign country's choice, Dawn newspaper reported.

Khan claims he was ousted because he refused military base facilities to the US when its forces evacuated from neighbouring Afghanistan in August 2021, according to several media reports.

However, the US has denied seeking any such help and has also denied any role in Khan's ouster.

In one of his television addresses, Khan exhorted the people to "fight slavery" and declared that "a Muslim can never be a slave." The new worry is the support among the young that Khan is perceived as enjoying, Islam Khabar reported.

The move suggests that the party is looking to carry out damage control following its leader's campaign, vilifying the US to win over popular support in Pakistan.

"This is an agreement between a PR firm, not a lobbyist, and a group of US citizens," Sajjad Burki, the PTI chairman's focal person for the US said as qouted by Dawn.

"We are not lobbying for PTI Pakistan, and certainly not within the US administration," he said.

Meanwhile, there were reports surfaced that the US Ambassador Donald Blome who was in Peshawar last week talked with Imran Khan on a secret video call.

According to The News International, the meeting between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and US Ambassador Donald Blome last week in Peshawar paved the way for the maiden contact of PTI chief Imran Khan with the US ambassador in Islamabad.

This virtual meeting is viewed as a change of heart on the part of PTI and yet another U-Turn on US bashing.

Former federal minister and PTI leader Shireen Mazari has said in a tweet that "there is absolutely no truth in Imran Khan having had any conversation on cell/video with US envoy Blome." She also disputed the visit of the ambassador to Torkham and KP and raised frivolous objections after four days of the visit. (ANI)

 
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