Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s expected visit to Russia later this month is ill-timed and a ”crushing blow” to the premier’s personal image, according to a media report on Monday.
In the report published in the Karachi-based daily The News, Jan Achakzai, Chairman of the Institute of New Horizons & Balochistan, equated Khan’s upcoming visit with that of former Pakistan president General Zia-ul-Haq’s trip to Iran to show solidarity with the Shah just a few days before he was ousted by the Ayatullah Khamenei-led revolution in 1979.
The report says that Khan’s visit comes at a time when the US and Russia are locked in a bitter standoff since the Cold War over Ukraine, which could spiral into a conflict any time if diplomacy completely fails.
Europe (US camp) and Eastern Europe (Russian camp) are trying to avoid being caught in the crossfire, it said.
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”The most prominent aspect of this visit is that Russia did not invite, rather an invitation was sought. And more so in an environment where Putin has already called PM (Narendra) Modi to express gratitude for India’s support to Russia in the UN Security Council — a temporary position India has because the diplomatic consensus in Islamabad had voted for Delhi to be so,” the report said.
According to the report, the cost of the Russia visit will be ”heavier” for the country’s interest and a ”crushing blow” to Khan’s personal image.
“The bottom line of this visit will be a blow to Pakistan’s reputation. We have fewer options and we will look ‘optionless’ after this visit,” it said.
”Why is Russia not going to give us anything? it is because India’s first prime minister did not decline the Russian invitation to visit and also due to the presence of many Indian students in Russia as well as the US,” the report said.
Russia losing India for the sake of Pakistan’s support is not an option and Islamabad’s support comes at the cost of frequent requests for aid and loans, it said.
It suggested that the prime minister and both its de facto and de jure diplomatic team read what the government’s NSA wrote in the National Security Policy (NSP) document: “What one gets out of it is that we will focus on our economy and won’t do any adventures anymore.”