Above: Imran Khan speaking to a rally of tens of thousands in Lahore. Photo credit: BBC
25-04-2022: Several minutes after midnight on April 10, the parliament of Pakistan passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan. Out of 342 members of parliament, 174 voted in favour of ousting Khan, only two above the required 172. In Pakistan, where no Prime Minister has served out a five-year term since the country won independence in 1947, an uninformed observer may conclude that Khan’s removal was the result of an internal constitutional procedure. In reality, this was yet another coup carried out via the US state department and its influence on the opposition and the military. This was arguably the most subtle regime change operation conducted by Washington over the last two decades. Unlike Libya or Syria, no armed mercenaries were transported in, and no war or military incursion took place. Rather, immense external and internal pressure was exerted to bend Khan to the dictates of US imperialism and the exigencies of its war on Eurasia.
Rejection of the playbook
Former cricket star Khan had long been an irritant for Washington, who for decades cultivated Pakistan as an ally to counteract India’s long diplomatic alliance with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Russian Federation today. Khan had earned the nickname of “Taliban Khan” for his long-held position against the two-decade long US war on Afghanistan. Yet his views were not an endorsement of the Taliban, but rather a logical anti-war position, alongside a rational concern that the arming and funding of armed “Islamic” extremists would cause spill-over into neighbouring Pakistan. Khan was involved in anti-war marches and rallies against the war on Afghanistan, and recognised that “Muslim religious” armed militancy cannot be divorced from the US led “war on terror”, and its wars and occupations of Muslim majority countries. Regardless of Khan’s other political views, this alone would be enough to earn the ire of the CIA.
At a mass rally on March 27, then PM Khan drew a letter from his coat pocket, alleging that “foreign powers” – without naming the US government – are conspiring with the opposition to remove him from power. Moreover, he threatened to reveal the names and sources of the written threats to Pakistan and himself personally. The day after Khan’s removal, millions of Pakistanis protested across the country against the “imported government”, led by Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Khan referred to himself on social media as the “former Prime Minister”. At a vast rally of hundreds of thousands in Karachi on April 16, Khan repeated that a US envoy had communicated to the Pakistan government that if the no-confidence motion against him was not successful then things “would be difficult for Pakistan”, but they would be “forgiven” if the no-confidence motion was passed. Khan appealed to the crowd by reiterating how disappointing it is for threats to be issued against a country of 220 million people. “Was it a conspiracy or not?….What country is threatened like this..?”, he thundered. Some of the largest rallies in the history of Pakistan were held to loudly protest the US orchestrated removal of their leader.
Eurasian integration crucial for Pakistan
Imran Khan was aware that tilting towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia for economic development is a necessity for Pakistan, regardless of the plans of US imperialism. Only the neighbouring PRC, with its vast predominantly publicly owned and planned economy, could offer anything on the scale of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship of the 62 billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The CPEC will build much needed transport and energy projects which will revamp Pakistan’s development. Unfortunately, this is why it has already been targeted by terrorist attacks, such as the bomb blast which killed nine Chinese nationals and three Pakistanis on a bus in the Kyber Pakhtunkhwa province in July last year. This act had US deep state fingerprints all over it. While the US government arms the Pakistan military, it simultaneously and covertly backs Balochistan separatists, along with the government of the UK. Under the guise of “independence”, armed Baloch militants can be mobilised for murderous destablisation of CPEC construction.
Unquestionably, the catalyst for Washington to move to remove Khan came on February 24, when he visited Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the very day that Russia began its DeNazification operation in Ukraine. Khan’s trip, however, was planned months beforehand, when there was obviously no knowledge that military operations would begin on that day. Khan’s trip to Moscow was to finalise co-operation with Russian firms building the “Pakistan Stream” gas pipeline. Consequently, Khan and Pakistan came under extreme US government pressure to denounce Russia’s defensive military operations in Ukraine. In response, Khan announced at a political rally, “What do you think of us? Are we your slaves….whatever you say, we will do?”
As if to underscore the results of the coup, within six days of the choreographed removal of PM Khan, the Pakistani Air Force launched air strikes against suspected camps of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) inside Afghanistan. This is the first time that Pakistan has done this – previously it has only defended its territory. The Afghan Taliban claim that five civilians including women and children lost their lives in the strikes. Though separate, the Afghan Taliban and the TTP often work together, and in this case did so to defend Afghanistan against the Pakistan which now has Shebaz Sharif, from the Sharif dynasty, installed as a replacement for Imran Khan. This operation reaffirms the assessment that the US “withdrawal” from Afghanistan was in practice a strategic US repositioning in Central Asia.
The coup in Pakistan is yet another reminder that acquiescence to the West’s nonsensical Covid fraud is by no means enough to prevent imperialist meddling, up to and including regime change. Its government complied (although under protest from Khan) – and still paid the price. However, working people should remain positive, as millions throughout the world reject or at least deeply suspect both the Covid narrative and US war aims on Russia and the PRC. A struggle for workers’ governments, animated by vanguard parties of the proletariat, remains a necessity in West Asia and beyond.
 https://www.cpicglobal.com/pakistan-overview/cpec/ (25-04-2022)