Imran Khan to join Xi Jinping to shore up Nepal’s PM Oli against India

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to extend his support to Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli who is finding himself increasingly isolated within the ruling Nepal Communist Party after blaming India for a rebellion in his party, people familiar with the development told HT.

PM Oli had on Sunday accused his detractors of trying to push him out of power, accusing India and politicians in Nepal of being involved in a conspiracy to topple him for publishing the country’s new map that depicts Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepalese territory.

This accusation, however, appeared on Tuesday to have backfired on PM Oli after rival leaders such as Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” demanded that he quit his leadership role in the party and government. They had earlier given him an option to retain one of the two posts.

Imran Khan’s outreach to PM Oli comes at a time when he is struggling to stay in power.

Officials told HT that Islamabad had sent a formal communication to the Nepalese foreign ministry to fix a time for Imran Khan’s phone call to PM Oli.

Imran Khan has proposed a 12 noon phone call on Thursday (12.45 pm Nepal Time, 12.30 pm IST).

Diplomatic sources said it is obvious that the flavour of the conversation is going to be India.

Imran Khan’s Pakistan has accused India of engineering the terrorist attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi while PM Oli has been accusing India of destablising his government.

The phone call comes at a time Xi Jinping’s China is engaged in a standoff with India over Ladakh. The two prime ministers also owe a huge debt to China for projects that critics say, largely serve Beijing’s interests. “China is their common link,” a Kathmandu watcher said.

On the domestic front, PM Oli’s move to come out with a redraw his country’s political map and whip up ultra-nationalistic sentiments was an attempt to consolidate his support within the party. PM Oli tried to use it to the hilt this weekend, imputing motives to his rivals who want to see his back.

Prachanda and Oli are co-chairs of Nepal’s communist party. Oli is, however, seen to lean a little too heavily towards China and has managed to hold on to the PM’s post due to Beijing’s intervention in the past.

PM Oli’s hard push to redraw the Himalayan nation’s political map to create a dispute with New Delhi was also timed to serve China’s interests.

Source : Hindustan Times

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