U.S. Pressured Pakistan to Oust Imran Khan Over ‘Aggressively Neutral’ Stance on Ukraine, Docs Reveal
The US State Department pressured Pakistan to remove Prime Minister Imran Khan from power over his “aggressively neutral position” on the Ukraine-Russia war, a leaked cable reveals.
From The Intercept:
SECRET PAKISTAN CABLE DOCUMENTS U.S. PRESSURE TO REMOVE IMRAN KHAN
“All will be forgiven,” said a U.S. diplomat, if the no-confidence vote against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan succeeds.
by Ryan Grim, Murtaza Hussain
The U.S. State Department encouraged the Pakistani government in a March 7, 2022, meeting to remove Imran Khan as prime minister over his neutrality on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a classified Pakistani government document obtained by The Intercept.
The meeting, between the Pakistani ambassador to the United States and two State Department officials, has been the subject of intense scrutiny, controversy, and speculation in Pakistan over the past year and a half, as supporters of Khan and his military and civilian opponents jockeyed for power. The political struggle escalated on August 5 when Khan was sentenced to three years in prison on corruption charges and taken into custody for the second time since his ouster. Khan’s defenders dismiss the charges as baseless. The sentence also blocks Khan, Pakistan’s most popular politician, from contesting elections expected in Pakistan later this year.
One month after the meeting with U.S. officials documented in the leaked Pakistani government document, a no-confidence vote was held in Parliament, leading to Khan’s removal from power. The vote is believed to have been organized with the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military. Since that time, Khan and his supporters have been engaged in a struggle with the military and its civilian allies, whom Khan claims engineered his removal from power at the request of the U.S.