News Release

“Blatant Lie”: Secret Pakistan Cable Documents U.S. Pressure to Remove Imran Khan


Ryan Grim and Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept are reporting in “Secret Pakistan Cable Documents U.S. Pressure to Remove Imran Khan” that: “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.

“The text of the Pakistani cable, produced from the meeting by the ambassador and transmitted to Pakistan, has not previously been published. The cable, known internally as a ‘cypher,’ reveals both the carrots and the sticks that the State Department deployed in its push against Khan, promising warmer relations if Khan was removed, and isolation if he was not.”

Available for interviews:

Jabbar is emeritus professor of interdisciplinary studies, City College of San Francisco, California. He said the truth of the situation “is buried under layers of disinformation. Take, for example, the following words of Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesperson, as reported in The Intercept coverage. It is a blatant lie.”

From The Intercept: “Miller said, ‘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 added that ‘allegations that the United States interfered in internal decisions about the leadership of Pakistan are false. They have always been false, and they continue to be.'”

BIZAA ZEYNAB ALI,, @zeynabali74

Bizaa Zeynab Ali is a New York based academic at the New School for Social Research and New York University.  She is also a representative of the Human Rights Legal Aid Foundation and the Pakistan Legal Fund.


Ahmad teaches law, religion, and world politics in Pakistan and is the director of the Center for the Study of Islam and Decoloniality.