The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan on Sunday delivered a long speech in which he took on previous administrations as well as criticized the EU envoys.
A letter released publicly by the EU’s official Twitter handle saw the EU ambassadors “urging” Pakistan to condemn Russia for its special military operation in Ukraine.
The letter issued as press release reads,
As Heads of Mission to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, we urge Pakistan to join us in condemning Russia’s actions and to voice support for upholding the UN Charter and the founding principles of international law.
The document was signed by delegates of member states of the European Union as well as Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, the UK & the US.
Experts say it’s rare for embassies to issue press releases on social media asking the hosting countries to toe a certain line. Many are calling it a direct interference aimed at influencing Pakistan’s foreign policy.
In response, the Foreign Office of Pakistan said: “We took note of that and in a subsequent meeting with a group of ambassadors, we expressed our concern about that because it was not the way diplomacy should be practiced”.
Last week, United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) tabled a non-binding resolution asking for the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine. The majority of South Asian countries including Pakistan & India abstained.
In the UN, Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram stated that Islamabad backed all efforts to restore peace in Ukraine. “We support a cease-fire and negotiations.” “If we had backed the Ukraine resolution, we would have no political space for diplomacy between the two parties,” he had maintained.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in his speech to a rally in Punjab’s Mailsi strongly criticized the EU for the press release. “European Union wrote a letter asking us to vote in the United Nations condemning Russia,” he said.
Khan adds, “I ask the European Union: Have you written a similar letter to India?”
“Have you ever appreciated Pakistan’s cooperation in the War on Terror against in which Pakistan has lost 80,000 lives and other damage to infrastructure?” he asked during a public rally in Mailsi, Vehari district, on Sunday.
Western countries have imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia as the conflict rages in Ukraine. Many in the West have been calling for punishing countries that do not agree on severing trade relations with Russia.
It’s, however, important to note that Europe is still meeting its energy needs by buying for example most of its gas from Russia. The oil & gas Europe buys from Russia amounts to a whopping $1 billion in a single day.
“Has anyone of you severed trade relations with India or objected to its unlawful actions,” Mr. Khan asked, adding, “What do you think of us? Are we your slaves… that whatever you say, we will do?”.
The prime minister stated that Islamabad does not want to be in a confrontation with any country and wishes to maintain good relations with everybody — Russia, the United States, China, and Europe. “Pakistan is not a member of any camp.” We are impartial and are working to bring the Russia-Ukraine conflict to a peaceful conclusion as soon as possible since it is a big loss,” he said.
Criticizing the drone strikes allied-US carried out in Pakistan Khan said, “children of innocent citizens in the frontier region were being killed. And the families whose members were killed resorted to attacks against us(the state of Pakistan), they revenged on us because they knew that those attacks were carried with our permission.”
Khan rhetorically asked the rally, “Tell me, has any drone strike been carried out since Imran Khan became Prime Minister?”
“Neither has it happened(drone strikes during Khan’s tenure) nor will I allow it. If anyone tries a drone attack inside Pakistan, I’ll order the Pakistan Air Force to shoot it down because it’s a violation of the law. “
EU council head talks to PM Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan phoned with European Council President Charles Michel on Monday, emphasizing the importance of a cease-fire and de-escalation in Ukraine.
On Twitter, the prime minister expressed his concerns with Charles Michel about the ongoing military confrontation in Ukraine, emphasizing the negative economic impact on developing nations.