A leaked document has raised questions about the United States’ involvement in the removal of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2022. The leaked Pakistani government document suggests that the US may have influenced a no-confidence motion against Khan due to his neutral stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to reports.
The confidential document recounts a meeting involving Pakistani ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan, and two US State Department officials, including Donald Lu, which took place on March 7, 2022.
Following this meeting, a no-confidence motion was put forward against Imran Khan on March 8, 2022, ultimately leading to his ousting from power on April 10.
The central concern expressed by the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, as revealed in the leaked document, was Pakistan’s neutral stance on the Ukraine conflict. Lu reportedly questioned the seemingly “aggressively neutral position” taken by Pakistan and suggested that a no-confidence vote could help rectify the situation.
The document quoted Lu as saying, “People here and in Europe are quite concerned about why Pakistan is taking such an aggressively neutral position (on Ukraine), if such a position is even possible. It does not seem such a neutral stand to us.”
Lu further hinted that if a new Prime Minister were to replace Imran Khan, the strained relations between the US and Pakistan could improve. “I think if the no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister succeeds, all will be forgiven in Washington because the Russia visit is being looked at as a decision by the Prime Minister,” Lu stated, as per the leaked document.
The conversation concluded with the Pakistani ambassador expressing hope that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would not damage the relationship between Pakistan and the US.
In response to allegations of its involvement in Imran Khan’s removal, Mathew Miller, the State Department spokesperson, denied the claims, emphasizing the US’s concern over Khan’s visit to Moscow during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We had expressed concern about the visit of then-PM Khan to Moscow on the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and have communicated that opposition both publicly and privately,” Miller clarified.
The leaked document has ignited a debate about the role of external influences in Pakistan’s internal politics. While the exact extent of US involvement remains a topic of discussion, it underscores the complex interplay between international relations and domestic political dynamics.
Critics argue that any foreign influence on a sovereign nation’s internal affairs raises concerns about the country’s autonomy and democratic processes. The leaked document could fuel suspicions about the motives behind Imran Khan’s removal and whether it was genuinely driven by the best interests of Pakistan or influenced by external factors.
As the debate continues, it is essential for Pakistan’s leadership to address these concerns transparently and uphold the principles of sovereignty and democracy. Additionally, the US-Pakistan relationship will likely undergo scrutiny, urging both nations to engage in open dialogue to foster understanding and cooperation moving forward.
The leaked document shedding light on the alleged US encouragement of a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan underscores the delicate balance between international interests and a nation’s internal affairs. The incident highlights the importance of upholding democratic processes and maintaining transparent relations between nations to ensure the best outcomes for all parties involved.