EDITORIAL: Abdicating diplomatic norms last week, 23 Islamabad-based envoys mainly from the European Union, issued a press release, asking Pakistan to be present in the UN General Assembly special session and vote against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A couple of days earlier when Prime Minister Imran was about to undertake his Moscow visit, a senior EU official had apprised Pakistan of the negative fallout his visit may have on their bilateral trade and business relations.
The question what had actually motivated the EU envoys to bypass Pakistan’s Foreign Office and go to the press has no clear answer even when the prime minister in his address at public meeting at Mailsi, Punjab, severely criticized the EU envoys’ media campaign. “What do you think of us? Are we slaves … that whatever you say, we will do it,” he conveyed to the envoys, and regretted Pakistan’s unrewarded alliance with the Western camp throughout the Cold War. Then he asked them: “Have you ever acknowledged Pakistan’s support in war against terror, which claimed 80,000 lives?”.
According to him, opposition leaders Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari cannot adopt an independent foreign policy as they have bank accounts in foreign countries, but “I have never bowed before anyone nor will let the nation bow before any other country”. That the situation is profoundly profound is a fact. It, therefore, gives birth to a profound question: Do Washington-led powers want his removal from the helm?
Be that as it may, the issue that calls for instant comment is Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to speak on an issue at a public meeting at Mailsi, Punjab. It is needless to say that this matter is essentially a foreign policy matter and should be taken up within the realms of diplomacy. No doubt the EU envoys were wrong. They were rightly reminded by the Foreign Office that what they did was “not a usual diplomatic practice”.
But here is the prime minister of Pakistan making public what he thinks of the European Union and Nato powers. He may also visit some European capitals, and quite “soon”, according to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. Maybe, the prime minister would tell his host leaders in Europe on their faces what he told the people at home. One would have no hesitation in sharing Imran Khan’s determination not to bow before anyone, but where one differs with him is that a political public meeting was not the right place where EU envoys should have been censured.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022