Islamabad: Pakistan opted to stay away from taking sides on the Russia-Ukraine conflict during United Nations General Assembly debate on the crisis.
Pakistan allowed its turn to pass as the UNGA continued to debate on the situation. Pakistan has decided not to take sides on the Russia-Ukraine issue to avoid getting involved in the dispute. Islamabad supports a peaceful and negotiated settlement.
The 193-member UNGA will this week vote on a resolution condemning Russia’s actions and demanding Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its forces from Ukraine. The resolution needs two-thirds support to be adopted. It is similar to a draft resolution vetoed by Russia in the 15-member Security Council on Friday.
Western diplomatic missions in Pakistan have collectively urged Islamabad to denounce Russia’s operation in Ukraine and support an emergency UN resolution “As heads of missions 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,” said the statement, signed by ambassadors of 22 countries and the head of the European Union delegation in Islamabad.
The statement drew sharp criticism on social media where many Pakistanis criticised European countries for their lack of support for Pakistan on issues of its core interests.
The Pakistani prime minister has repeatedly stated that his country seeks balanced ties with major world powers and would not become part of any bloc politics. Pakistan has called for de-escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine but avoided both condemning the Russian attack and declaring open support for Ukraine. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine and said that Pakistan had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict.
Pakistan urges diplomacy
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a recent phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba shared “serious concerns” over the intensifying situation and urged for diplomacy.” Pakistan has emphasized the importance of de-escalation and stressed the “indispensability of diplomacy in the latest crisis which has forced more than 600,000 Ukrainians to flee to neighbouring European countries.
Pakistani prime minister during his recent visit (February 23-24) to Moscow underscored Pakistan’s belief that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24 just hours before the Pakistani prime minister was due to meet Russian President Putin in Kremlin. Pakistani officials said the visit was long-planned.