Leaked document implies US involvement in Imran Khan’s ouster: Report

Leaked document implies US involvement in Imran Khan’s ouster: Report

The United States may have influenced the no-confidence motion against former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2022 due to his neutral stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a leaked Pakistani government document obtained by The Intercept.

The classified Pakistani document describes what happened in a meeting involving the Pakistani ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan, and two US State Department officials, including Donald Lu, on March 7, 2022, as per the report by The Intercept.

A day after the meeting, a no-confidence motion was fielded against Imran Khan on March 8, 2022. Then, on April 10, Khan was ousted from power.


The US’ Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, criticised Pakistan’s neutral position on Ukraine, according to the document obtained by The Intercept.

The document showed that he had hinted at a no-confidence vote to rectify the situation during the meeting with the then Pakistani ambassador to the US.

As per the document, Lu said, “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.”

He then went on to say that if the Prime Minister was replaced, “all would be forgiven in Washington,” according to The Intercept’s report.

“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 said, reported The Intercept, quoting the leaked document.

According to The Intercept, the document showed that the talk ended with the Pakistani ambassador saying he hoped the Russia-Ukraine war wouldn’t hurt Pakistan’s relationship with the US.

“I would argue that it has already created a dent in the relationship from our perspective,” Lu said.

“Let us wait for a few days to see whether the political situation changes, which would mean that we would not have a big disagreement about this issue and the dent would go away very quickly,” the US State Department official said, as quoted by the document obtained by The Intercept.

In response to the accusations against the US for its alleged role in Imran Khan’s ouster, Mathew Miller, the State Department spokesperson, said that the allegations were false.

“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,” he said, as quoted by The Intercept.


On March 27, 2022, Khan, who is in jail after being convicted in a corruption case, had alleged that “foreign forces”, which he later said was “Washington”, had orchestrated a plan to oust him from office and brandished the cypher or the classified diplomatic document at a public rally to back his claims.

In July this year, Pakistan’s Federal Minister, Khawaja Asif, said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief used a “diplomatic cypher for political purposes and he could be charged with treason for using the Pakistan government’s classified document for vested interests”.

Khan could be facing charges of treason in the Cypher case, he added.

Published On:

Aug 10, 2023

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