On 12/09/22 the Pakistani media reported that veteran US diplomat and former CIA analyst Robin Raphael had met Imran Khan and leader of the Senate, Dr. Shehzad Waseem at Khan’s Banigala residence in Islamabad, whilst on the 8th of September, PTI senior vice president Chaudhrey Fawad Hussein had separately met US ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, at the US embassy in Pakistan, which is also the CIA nerve center in the country. The PTI provided no account for the reason for these meetings.
The meetings with Blome and Raphael coincided with the high level US delegation visit which snubbed Khan officially creating the false impression that Khan was not part of the US equation in Pakistan. Robin Raphael has deep connections with Pakistan’s political, social and military elite. Her former husband Arnold Raphael was ambassador to Pakistan during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and responsible for handling Zia ul Haq and the American policy. In order to protect the American role once the conflict had ended, both Zia and Arnold were eliminated in what was deemed a ‘suspicious aircrash’ on which were on board.
Raphael was built up as a pro-Pakistan diplomat by the American establishment in order to endear and entrench her more with Pakistan’s intellectual, political and military elite.
Her pro-Pakistan positions on Kashmir and Afghanistan helped foster those connections as did a political move in 2014 to implicate Raphael in a national security case in claiming that she may have been passing sensitive national security material to officials in Pakistan, whilst she was serving as coordinator for non-military assistance to Pakistan. The case was duly dropped in 2016. This was a clever move to make the Pakistani establishment and people foster further trust in Raphael.
Despite the raid on her home and the case, the proof of the matter is that Raphael was fully trusted by the US establishment and brought back to further US interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan with the Dawn stating in 2014 that Raphael, “is widely respected in Pakistan for helping improve US relations with the country during difficult periods (07/11/2014).
One of the close associates of Raphael in Pakistan is Federal Minister for Climate change Sherry Rahman, who has known Raphael for over 20 years since her time as former ambassador in Washington and in a interview to the Washington Post confirmed Raphael’s depth of penetration in Pakistan saying; “She spent time and energy on building layered relationships, which in a diplomatic era of forgettable friendships positioned her as an old-school perennial… the American diplomat had the necessary experience to navigate her way in America’s interests through many otherwise closed doors (Washington Post 16/12/2014)
Hence, the meeting between the PTI with Raphael and Donald Blome as well as the timing is significant. It coincides with the expected change in the military chief in November and announcement by Khan to move to the further escalation on the issue of elections.
The visit by Chaudhrey Fawad to meet Donald Blome simultaneously at the US embassy in Islamabad can only be to receive further instructions from the Americans as the embassy is the nerve center of American power in Pakistan and the main source of Pakistan’s subjugation and instability. This is despite PTI leader Shireen Mazari calling Blome a US ‘viceroy’.
The political follow up and actions by the PTI will no doubt reveal the true nature of what the Americans have communicated to Khan and Fawad and the extent of their agency to the Americans.
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