The Foreign Office has rebuked western diplomats stationed in Islamabad for circulating on social media a joint statement urging the government of Pakistan to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Diplomats from 22 countries, including many states from the European Union, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, issued a joint statement asking Pakistan to support a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. A copy of the statement was shared on the official accounts of several foreign missions in Islamabad, including by the Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour. Many embassies subsequently took the letter down.
“As heads of mission to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, we urge Pakistan to join us in condemning Russia’s actions,” the public joint statement read.
Responding to the public airing of the statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that Pakistan had discussed the matter with several ambassadors.
“We took note of that and in a subsequent meeting with a group of ambassadors, we expressed our concern about it, because as I said that is not the way diplomacy should be practiced, and I think they have realised it,” the spokesperson said, referring to utilizing social media as a tool for diplomacy.
“Our ambassadors also use Twitter abroad, but I think we use that in a responsible manner and the important thing is that there are always certain diplomatic norms and protocols that we understand are to be followed. It is not usual diplomatic practice to say such things through the media, and we have made that clear,” he added.
Pakistan has to date remained firm that it will maintain neutrality in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Last week, Pakistan abstained from a UNGA vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.