Thu. Jul 7th, 2022

The country has vowed to stay neutral in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine

Prime Minister Imran Khan lashed out at foreign diplomats who pressured Pakistan to join a UN resolution condemning Russia over its military attack on Ukraine, accusing the envoys of treating Pakistan like “slaves.”

At a rally on Sunday, Khan shot back at a March 1 letter from diplomats representing 22 missions, including countries in the European Union along with Japan, Switzerland, Canada, the UK, and Australia, which called on Pakistan to drop its neutrality and join them in condemning Moscow.

“What do you think of us? Are we your slaves… that whatever you say, we will do?” questioned Khan, before asking EU ambassadors whether they wrote “such a letter to India,” which also remains neutral.

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Khan claimed that Pakistan had suffered for previously supporting NATO’s military action in Afghanistan and declared, “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.”

Pakistan, along with 34 other countries, abstained from voting on the UN’s resolution condemning Russian “aggression against Ukraine” last week. Pakistan’s neighbors India, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan also abstained.

Khan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on February 24, the day Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine, to discuss bilateral ties and regional issues.

Moscow maintains that the attack was launched with the purpose of “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, and that it was the only possible option left to protect the people of eastern Ukraine following years of a grueling blockade that claimed thousands of lives. Kiev insists the invasion was unprovoked, saying it had no plans to retake the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics by force.