US Pressured Pakistan To Remove Leader Who Was Neutral On Ukraine War

This is just one example of America pressuring nations to support efforts against Russia, and it worked.

The scoop: In March of last year, a State Department official reportedly urged Pakistan to oust former Prime Minister Imran Khan over his neutral stance on Russia's Ukraine invasion, according to a classified document obtained by the Intercept. Pakistan confirmed the document but denied that it revealed a conspiracy against Khan.

  • But it happened: By April, Khan was removed from office following a no-confidence vote from officials. He later received a three-year prison sentence for corruption — marking his second time in custody since leaving office.

Why it matters: Pakistan is just one example of the U.S. exerting pressure on nations to support efforts against Russia. American officials have long criticized Russia for interfering in other nations’ internal affairs but are eager to use similar tactics — and they won’t admit it.

In the document: Assistant State Secretary Donald Lu and U.S. Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan criticized Pakistan's “aggressively neutral position” on the Ukraine war. But with a successful no-confidence vote against Khan, “All will be forgiven in Washington,” Lu said.

  • Threats: Lu also warned of potential isolation from the U.S. and Europe if Khan remained in power. Despite all of this, the State Department denies that Lu urged the removal of the Prime Minister.

  • Pakistan’s stance: Khan had visited Moscow just days before this conversation. His government also abstained from a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s invasion. While in office, the Pakistani leader rebuked both Europe and America’s demand that Pakistan publicly support Ukraine, asking, “Are we your slaves?”

  • But now: Pakistan has abandoned its hands-off approach and supplies arms to Ukraine.

Zoom out: Many countries, including — India, Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey — have remained largely neutral on the war, making America’s hope of an international coalition more difficult. America’s framing of the war as one of global proportions — as autocracy versus democracy — has fallen on deaf ears in nations who see it as a regional conflict.