In a tweet posted on Sunday to mark the 74th anniversary of the commencement of diplomatic relations between Russia and Pakistan, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tagged former prime minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi instead of officials of the incumbent government, giving rise to speculations about Russia’s position on the change of government in Pakistan.
The tweet mentioned that on May 1, 1948, diplomatic relations between Russia and Pakistan were established, and that the two countries are major foreign policy partners today, adding a statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Larvov, saying, “Russian-Pakistani relations are constructive and mutually beneficial.”
The members of the ousted PTI government tagged in the tweet include PTI chairperson and former prime minister Imran Khan, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and former special assistant to prime minister Shahbaz Gill.
The tweet also included a link to a longer Facebook post containing a timeline of Pak-Russia diplomacy, from the arrival of Pakistan’s first Ambassador, Shuaib Qureshi, in Moscow in 1949, to the most recent meeting of Lavrov and Qureshi on March 30th in China.
Imran Khan’s visit to Russia in February marked the first such visit by a Pakistani premier in nearly two decades.
In the days before his ouster, his allegations of a ‘US conspiracy’, which were duly denied by both the US and Pakistani military agencies, were supported by members of the Russian government.
“There is another attempt of shameless US interference in the internal affairs of an independent state for its own selfish purposes, the above facts eloquently testify to this,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation read.