| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Pakistani premier hits out at Western envoys’ joint letter on Russia

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed Islamabad-based Western envoys who asked Pakistan to denounce Russia’s actions in Ukraine last week, asking them if they considered Pakistan to be their “slave.”

On March 1, the chiefs of 22 foreign missions, including those of European Union member nations, sent a joint letter requesting Pakistan to support a UN General Assembly resolution denouncing Russia’s actions against Ukraine.

The decision to make the letter public was unusual.

“What are your thoughts about us? Are we your servants… that we would do anything you say?” Khan stated this while speaking at a political gathering.

In the event, Pakistan, a traditional ally of the West, abstained from voting as the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly reprimanded Russia for invading Ukraine.

“I want to ask the European Union ambassadors: Did you write such a letter to India?” Khan said, noting that Pakistan’s arch-rival had also abstained.

Khan also said European countries had not censured India for its actions in Kashmir, a mountainous region over which Pakistan and India have fought two wars.

He said Pakistan had suffered because it had supported the Western NATO alliance in Afghanistan, and instead of gratitude faced criticism.

Khan and his government found themselves in the spotlight after he went ahead with a visit to Moscow in late February as fears of an invasion were growing, and met Vladimir Putin a few hours after the Russian president had ordered his troops into Ukraine.

“We are friends with Russia, and we are also friends with America; we are friends with China and with Europe; we are not in any camp,” Khan added, saying Pakistan would remain “neutral” and work with those trying to end the war in Ukraine.

On Friday, a Pakistani foreign office spokesman said it was “not usual diplomatic practice” for envoys to make appeals such as their letter public, “and we have made that clear”.

  • Reuters