India, Pakistan on same page on Ukraine situation

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Pakistan’s decision comes at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan defended his decision to not take sides, stating that his visit to Moscow was to discuss bilateral issues only….writes Hamza Ameer

Pakistan has decided to refrain from taking part in the emergency session of the UN General Assembly, which was convened to discuss the Russia – Ukraine crisis.

Diplomatic sources in Pakistan maintained that while Islamabad supports a peaceful resolution finalised through negotiated understanding between Russia and Ukraine; it would not take sides and would prefer not to be part of discussion on the conflict at global forums like the UNGA.

Pakistan’s decision comes at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan defended his decision to not take sides, stating that his visit to Moscow was to discuss bilateral issues only.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had landed hours before Moscow launched its military offensive on Ukraine, targeting the air defence system and military installations.

While Pakistan has opted not to participate in the all-important discussion on the conflict at the UNGA, over 100 countries would have addressed the emergency session of the UNGA, which is expected to conclude on Tuesday. The US has put forward a resolution, demanding Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine.

It should be noted that UNGA has held only 10 emergency sessions since 1950 under the provision known as “Uniting for Peace” resolution.

There are at least 1,500 Pakistani families and students stranded at the Ukraine – Polish border, who have been criticising the Pakistani embassy in Ukraine for failing to facilitate and help them in reaching the border and being able to pass through into Poland to seek refuge.

Many Pakistani students and families have complained about the mistreatment and what they called ignorance of the Pakistani embassy officials, who they say left them at least 20 miles before the Ukraine-Poland border.

“We were left on the road 20 miles before the border in the blistering cold weather. We had to walk by foot all the way to the border. It has been miserable how we have been treated by our own embassy,” said a Pakistani student stuck at the Ukraine-Polish border.

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The other major issue that the Pakistanis and others are facing is the refusal of Ukraine border security forces, who are not allowing them to cross the border.

“The forces are not allowing us to cross the border. That’s because we are not Ukrainian. They prefer sending Ukrainian nationals first and have stopped us,” said another Pakistani student.

Meanwhile, the US has discussed its concerns with India in the aftermath of its abstaining on the United Nations Security Council vote censuring Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and has regular engagement with it, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

Asked at his daily briefing on Monday about India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining on the Council vote, he said, “We have regular engagement with our Indian partners. We have regular engagement with our Emirati partners. We have regular engagement with our European allies and our European partners. So at every level in multiple fora we have had discussions about this.”

When a Reuters reporter asked him sarcastically, “Are you heartened and gratified by India abstaining and UAE abstaining,” he began to say, “Rather than focus on specific countries, we have heard …” when the reporter cut him off mid sentence and wouldn’t let him continue telling him, “They are like US allies”.

“Of course we have a very close relationship with India. We have discussed our concerns, our shared concerns,” Price continued.

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