Pakistan’s Support Of Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity Mustn’t Be Misinterpreted
Since the UNSC hasn’t recognized Crimea’s reunification with Russia for obvious reasons due to its Western members’ resistance, it therefore follows that Pakistan wouldn’t recognize it as well, but that hasn’t impeded the comprehensive development of relations with Russia as evidenced by Prime Minister Khan’s upcoming trip to Moscow.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova tweeted her thanks to Pakistan for its support of her country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity after meeting with Ambassador Noel Israel Khokhar on Monday. Islamabad’s stance shouldn’t surprise anyone and mustn’t be misinterpreted, especially not in the run-up to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Moscow later this week and following Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Danila Ganich’s interview with his host country’s media the day prior. It’s important to clarify everything in order to debunk pernicious information warfare narratives.
Pakistan strictly adheres to the UN Charter and accordingly complies with the Security Council’s resolutions that are enshrined in international law per that global body’s founding document. Since the UNSC hasn’t recognized Crimea’s reunification with Russia for obvious reasons due to its Western members’ resistance, it therefore follows that Islamabad wouldn’t recognize it as well. This, however, hasn’t impeded the comprehensive development of relations with Russia as evidenced by Prime Minister Khan’s upcoming trip to Moscow.
The same can be said about how Russia’s stance of unwaveringly supporting India’s position on Kashmir also hasn’t impeded relations with Pakistan either. The Russian Embassy in India recently reaffirmed their country’s consistent position following the scandal over Ruptly-funded redfish’s (stylized with a lower-case r) now-postponed Kashmir video. Some observers attempted to spin that in an anti-Pakistani way just like how some are flirting with doing the same regarding Pakistan’s stance towards Ukraine. Both narratives are misleading and pushed either by politically ignorant folks or malicious provocateurs.
The timing of Ambassador Khokhar’s meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Dzhaparova might have been coincidental or it could have been intended as Islamabad’s assurance to Kiev that its position towards that country’s territorial issues isn’t going to change after Prime Minister Khan’s visit to Moscow. Either way, it shouldn’t be interpreted in any anti-Russian way, nor should observers feign surprise or indignation over it. It’s simply the reaffirmation of Pakistan’s consistent position towards one of its close partners, remembering that ties between those two have always been very solid.
What’s most important for people to pay attention to is who’ll try to spin her tweet and how actively they’ll seek to do so. It’s one thing for someone who’s unaware of Pakistan’s policy to innocently ask questions about this and another entirely for someone to hint or even outright claim that it supposedly sends some kind of unfriendly signal to Russia. The first-mentioned should be gently corrected in the politest way by being informed of the facts while the second should be decisively challenged in order to counteract the spread of their false narrative.
International Relations are evolving in such a way that zero-sum paradigms are quickly becoming an outdated model of the past while mutually beneficial ones are rapidly replacing them. No pair of partners ever perfectly agrees about everything, and Russia and Pakistan aren’t an exception, nor are Russia and China for that matter. For those who aren’t aware, they differ over Kashmir, Crimea, and the South China Sea, the latter of which was on display after Russia cited the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) three times in its reaffirmed strategic partnership pact with Vietnam in December.
Be that as it is, Russia and China are politically mature and responsible enough to pragmatically manage their differences in such a way that they don’t adversely affect their mutually beneficial strategic partnership. There’s no reason why Russia and Pakistan can’t manage their differences over Kashmir and Crimea in the same way. In fact, just like Russia and China have already done, so too have Russia and Pakistan emulated that model of mutually beneficial partnership in spite of certain political differences. For these reasons, nobody should misinterpret Pakistan’s reported policy reminder.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.