Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan could have shown some restraint and avoided reacting publicly when diplomats from the European Union (EU) had requested Pakistan to condemn Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.
While maintaining that the EU should not have told Pakistan what to do, the finance minister said the prime minister “reacted publicly, which maybe he should not have done”.
On Sunday, the prime minister had lashed out against EU ambassadors stationed in Islamabad who had circulated a statement asking Pakistan to support a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine – from which Pakistan eventually abstained.
“Have [EU ambassadors] ever acknowledged Pakistan’s support in war against terror which claimed 80,000 lives and caused other collateral damage?” the premier questioned during a speech at a public rally in Mailsi town of Vehari district.
“Has anyone of [the EU countries] severed trade relations with India or objected to its unlawful actions? […] Are we slaves and act according to your wishes?” the prime minister went on.
Tarin suggested that the prime minister could have made his remarks in private, although he said that he did not expect the PM’s comments to have a negative impact on Pakistan’s trade with the EU.
Responding to other questions during a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, the finance minister also said the government’s recent flurry of relief measures for the public should not impact the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditions on the country.