Pakistan has abstained from a UN General Assembly resolution to demand Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine, citing its need to protect territorial integrity and calling for de-escalation through sustained dialogue.
In a speech to the General Assembly, Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram said that “Pakistan is committed to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter: self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and pacific settlement of disputes”.
The resolution won by an overwhelming majority (141 out of 193 member states), although five voted against the resolution – Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and Russia – and 35 countries abstained, including Pakistan, China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
On Monday night, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow as Russia began its full-on attack in Ukraine last week, reiterated that Pakistan’s foreign policy would remain ‘neutral‘.
“Growing up, I was always made to realise that I was lucky to have been born in a a foreign country. Therefore I always wanted Pakistan’s foreign policy to be free. This means that the country makes foreign policy for its nation instead of adopt an approach that harms the country,” he said, adding that Pakistan will import gas from Russia, an agreement made during his visit to Moscow.
Following the prime minister’s speech, the Pakistan Foreign Office had received a letter penned by diplomats from 22 countries urging Pakistan to support the UNGA resolution demanding Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine.
Last week, the Pakistani Embassy in Ukraine shifted to the western city of Ternopil and released a statement announcing that there was ‘no safe place’ in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would open an investigation into possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine.