ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hopes the talks initiated between representatives of Russia and Ukraine will succeed in bringing about a cessation of hostilities and normalization of the situation, the country’s top envoy in the United Nations said on Wednesday.

“We hope the talks initiated between representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine will succeed in bringing about a cessation of hostilities and normalization of the situation. A diplomatic solution in accordance with relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and provisions of the UN Charter is indispensable,” Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, said at the emergency session of the UN General Assembly.

His statement comes as the West is pressing Pakistan to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Pakistan has developed friendship with Russian in the recent years and Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Moscow on February 23.

Pakistan has urged for peace but has fallen short of condemning the Russian invasion as desired by the US and the European countries. Pakistan however, is playing its role to normalise the situation.

Pakistan, he said, was committed to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and pacific settlement of disputes.

Equally, Pakistan upholds the principle of equal and indivisible security for all. These principles must be consistently and universally respected, he added.

Akram said Pakistan remained deeply concerned at the recent turn of events. “This reflects a failure of diplomacy. Prime Minister Imran Khan had regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine, and said Pakistan had hoped that diplomacy could avert military conflict,” he said.

The envoy said Pakistan had since repeatedly stressed the need for de-escalation, renewed negotiations, sustained dialogue, and continuous diplomacy.

“All efforts must be made to avoid further escalation of violence and loss of life as well as military, political and economic tensions which can pose an unprecedented threat to international peace and security and global economic stability. As consistently underlined by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the developing countries are hit the hardest economically by conflict anywhere,” he said.

Akram added: “We hope the talks initiated between representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine will succeed in bringing about a cessation of hostilities and normalization of the situation. A diplomatic solution in accordance with relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and provisions of the UN Charter is indispensable.”

Pakistan, he said, also supports all efforts to provide humanitarian relief to civilians in the affected areas. “The government is most concerned about the safety and welfare of Pakistani citizens and students in Ukraine. The majority of them have been evacuated. The few who remain will be evacuated soonest. We appreciate the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities as well as the Polish, Romanian and Hungarian governments in this context.”

 

‘What possible position Pakistan can take’

After mounting pressure by the International community on Pakistan to support Ukraine and condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a high level meeting to review the situation in Ukraine and what possible position Pakistan could take on it.

 

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, National security adviser Moeed Yusuf, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Air staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar, Naval chief Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi and foreign secretary Sohail Mehmood.

 

According to official sources foreign secretary Sohail Mehmood gave a comprehensive briefing to the participants about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and what possible options Pakistan could exercise.

 

“It was decided that Pakistan would push for diplomacy and peaceful talks  to resolve the conflict, which official sources said was the only option for Pakistan, after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Russia and talks with the Russian President”, an official source told the Nation.

 

It was also decided that Pakistan would push for opening of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and would talk to Russia at diplomatic level.

 

It was the first ever high-level meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan after his return from Russia visit. The Prime MInister also took participants into confidence over his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and hoped that strategic partnership between Pakistan and Russia has been forged which would be helpful for Pakistan in the context of security stability of South Asia keeping in view rapid geo strategic developments taking place in the region.

 

The meeting was briefed about the trajectory of excellent bilateral relations and cooperation with Ukraine in education, Agriculture and defence, science and technology. The recent joint statement of EU and other Ambassadors in Islamabad demanding the world community to support Ukraine also came under consideration.

 

“Most important thing is the pushing forward of diplomacy and talks to resolve the conflict and opening of routes for providing humanitarian assistance to people of Ukraine, which Pakistan fully supports”, the meeting was told.

 

Foreign secretary also briefed the meeting about the evacuation process for Pakistani students and citizens from Ukraine to the neighbouring countries and said the Pakistan embassy is working round the clock in Ukraine despite the worsening conflict to provide services to Pakistani students and the Pakistani community.

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking in the meeting regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine, and said Pakistan had hoped that diplomacy is the only option to de-escalate the military conflict. Prime Minister directed the Foreign Office that all resources be utilised for safe evacuation of Pakistanis from Ukraine.

1227 Pakistanis evacuated from Ukraine: Embassy

 

Pakistan Embassy in Ukraine announced yesterday that 1,227 Pakistanis had been evacuated from Ukraine so far amid the Russian invasion.

The embassy said it was making all-out efforts to evacuate Pakistani nationals stranded in that country at the earliest.

According to latest fact sheet, “1227 Pakistanis have already been evacuated while 84 Pakistanis are on their way back to their homeland via Ukraine-Hungary and Ukraine-Romania borders,” it said.

The embassy said situation in Kharkiv region was very precarious and as per the record of embassy, evacuation of Pakistanis from there had been completed.

It also said that around 600,000 people have fled Ukraine since 24th of the last month when the conflict escalated.

The mission has established different focal points for facilitation and evacuation of Pakistani citizens from Ukraine.

According to the embassy, 90 Pakistanis had been evacuated into Romania during the crisis in Ukraine. “20 Pakistanis (including a group of 19 Pakistani students - said to be the last group evacuation facilitated by our Embassy in Ukraine) are expected to arrive at the border today and will be evacuated,” it added.

Pakistan Embassy Bucharest (Romania) has also established a facilitation camp office near the northern border of Romania for facilitation of entrants. A coordination cell for coordination with Romanian side has also been set up.

An additional hotline has been established in addition to Embassy’s already existing hotline which is manned round-the-clock.

“Detailed information regarding border crossing points and visas are shared on social media. Individuals are also guided separately when they call on hotline or message through social media,” according to the fact sheet.

In coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, arrangements are in place for immediate entry, temporary stay, medical assistance and further onward transit, it added.

Dedicated transport has been arranged by the Embassy for transferring Pakistanis groups from border to Bucharest. Individual Pakistanis are facilitated at border points in availing public or special transport, it said.

Accommodation arrangements have been made in capital Bucharest. Facilitation is provided in accommodation/flight arrangements as per needs for further transit of Pakistanis who intend to leave for Pakistan or any other destination of their liking, it said.

“So far, embassy-hired accommodation and meals have been provided to 57 Pakistanis during their transit. Accommodation is being hired for a group of 19 students, who are expected today,” the fact sheet said.