The Russian Ambassador To Pakistan’s Remarks About Imran Khan Were Pragmatic

The Russian Ambassador To Pakistan’s Remarks About Imran Khan Were Pragmatic

By Andrew Korybko

The Russian Ambassador probably would have preferred not to speak about recent domestic political events in his host country in order to avoid giving off an unfriendly perception that could complicate ongoing food and fuel talks, but in response to being asked, he delicately shared his own personal assessment.


Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Danila Ganich was asked in an interview Sunday evening to share his thoughts about former Prime Minister Imran Khan. He described the ousted leader as “an honest man who wishes well for his country”, which he said has made remarkable progress in recent years. Russia’s top diplomat in Pakistan then remarked that the former premier’s visit to Moscow was one of the reasons behind his ouster in his personal opinion as an expert, clarifying that it was the media hype around this afterwards that put immense pressure upon him. Ambassador Ganich also politely said that he has no intention of speaking on the country’s domestic political issues any further out of respect for his hosts but did confirm that talks are ongoing with Islamabad over food and fuel imports.

These remarks were pragmatic and the epitome of what one can expect from a world-class diplomat like the Russian envoy to Pakistan. The issue of Russian-Pakistani relations has taken centre stage in that South Asian country’s political crisis following its ousted leader’s accusation that he was overthrown as part of a US-orchestrated regime change to punish him for his independent foreign policy, particularly its Russian dimension. He also claims that the authorities who replaced him have ruined the recovering economy that they inherited, including by stalling the talks with Russia that he initiated over the discounted import of food and fuel which could have otherwise relieved some of its budgetary pressure had they already been clinched by now like he expected if he’d have remained in office.

Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Shafqat Ali Khan told the prestigious Valdai Club last week during their first-ever conference on bilateral relations that his country is interested in purchasing oil from Moscow, which debunked the fake news circulating across Pakistani media over the past two months claiming that it’s impossible for this South Asian state to refine that resource if it ever purchased it. This was followed by incumbent Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reportedly declaring his intent to purchase Russian wheat, which would altogether help manage his country’s intense economic crisis if both deals end up being clinched sometime in the coming future. These developments therefore suggest that progress is being made to rekindle bilateral ties that cooled off since Imran Khan’s ouster.

It’s against this context that Ambassador Ganich’s pragmatic remarks should about the former premier should be interpreted. Despite Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova assessing the events that led up to Imran Khan’s removal as being characteristic of American meddling, President Vladimir Putin nevertheless recognized his successor just like he earlier recognized former Brazilian President Michel Temer who Russia also suspected of coming to power as part of a US regime change plot. The Russian Ambassador probably would have preferred not to speak about recent domestic political events in his host country in order to avoid giving off an unfriendly perception that could complicate ongoing food and fuel talks, but in response to being asked, he delicately shared his own personal assessment.

His answer was carefully worded so as not to be offensive nor misunderstood since he clarified that it was his interpretation as an expert and then added that his views only related to the hype that surrounded the former premier’s visit to Moscow. Even so, the ousted leader’s party tweeted a 23-second clip of Ambassador Ganich sharing the first part of his answer, which gave the impression to their followers that Russia’s top diplomat in Pakistan agrees with Imran Khan’s narrative a lot more than he actually does. Had they been aware of his full answer where he cited a judge’s conclusion that there was no conspiracy before then declining to elaborate any further due to his position as an ambassador, then they might not have fallen under the impression that’s naturally connected with that brief clip.

In any case, Ambassador Ganich’s personal interpretation as an expert isn’t actually all that important in terms of the bigger picture since Russia practices a highly flexible and non-ideological policy that always attempts to explore pragmatic opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation with all partners regardless of the circumstances under which they entered into office. This is evidenced by him confirming that talks remain underway between these two countries, which added credence to Ambassador Khan’s statement from last week that his government is interested in importing oil and other fuels from Russia. Both top diplomats should therefore be praised for their pragmatic remarks towards the issue of their bilateral relations, which gives cautious optimism about their future.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.


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Categories: International Affairs, Pakistan

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