The White House refused to give a clear response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “are we your slaves” statement that triggered a controversy with many slamming the premier for his public outburst against the European Union and putting Pakistan’s relations with the West at risk.
The PM had lashed out at the EU nations after the Islamabad-based envoys urged Pakistan to join the world in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked during a briefing to comment on the premier’s recent statement after his Russia visit that “he will not be a slave of America like other politicians do.”
To this, the spokesperson said: “We have a long relationship with Pakistan, and that is a relationship we’ll continue through diplomatic channels. So, I don’t have any more comments on that.”
To another question about the phone call between Pakistani PM and US President Joe Biden which is also a matter of contention between the two governments, Psaki said, “I don’t have any update on a planned call or engagement.”
“Obviously, we engage with Pakistan and a range of leaders at a number of levels through the State Department, through our national security team. But in terms of a call or engagement with the President, I don’t have anything to predict on that front,” she stated.
Psaki was asked whether there was a specific reason for not communicating with the Pakistani leadership.
In response to the letter written by the European Union envoys in Pakistan earlier this month, PM Imran had asked the bloc where were they when India broke the international law in Kashmir.
The premier had told the people of Mailsi that following his parent’s teachings, he had always believed that Pakistan should not be a “slave to anyone”.
“EU ambassadors wrote a letter to Pakistan, asking us to issue an anti-Russia statement. I ask EU ambassadors “did you write that letter to India as well?” PM Imran had said.
The premier reminded the participants of the rally that Pakistan had helped the Western bloc throughout its War on Terror (WoT), adding that had he been in power at that time, he would have never made Pakistan a party to the war.
“The head of the country at that time supported the US,” he had said.
He also wondered what Pakistan got out of supporting the West apart from losing 80,000 of its citizens, displacement of 3.5 million people, and losing over $100 billion.
“I ask EU ambassadors, did you thank us? Did you say we helped you in your war? Did you appreciate us?” PM Imran had questioned the EU envoys.
The premier had reminded the envoys that instead of thanking Pakistan, there were some people in the West that scapegoated Islamabad.
“When India broke international law in Kashmir and abrogated Kashmir’s autonomous status, did anyone of you break ties with India, end trade or criticise [New Delhi]?” he asked.
“What are we? Are we your slaves? Do we do what you say?” the premier had questioned.