Prime Minister Imran Khan hit out on Sunday at Islamabad-based Western envoys who last week urged Pakistan to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine, asking them if they thought Pakistan was their “slave”.
The heads of 22 diplomatic missions, including those of European Union member states, released a joint letter on March 1 urging Pakistan to support a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The move to release the letter publicly was rare.
“What do you think of us? Are we your slaves … that whatever you say, we will do?” Khan said while addressing a political rally.
The Prime Minister had said, “The EU Ambassador wrote a letter to support Russia. I ask the EU Ambassador, did he also write a letter to India?” Statement against India for Kashmir? Did you thank us for sacrificing 80,000 lives in the war on terror? Are we your slaves to do whatever you say, now Pakistan will be a part of peace but no one Pakistan will not support any country in the war. “
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.
“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 spokesperson said it was “not usual diplomatic practice” for envoys to make appeals such as their letter public, “and we have made that clear”.
Moreover, the President of the European Union (EU) has requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to play a mediating role in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine.