ISLAMABAD - Foreign policy experts and former diplomats have criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for wrongly quoting a UN principle - Responsibility to Protect (R2P) - for making appeal to the international community for humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his tweet has stated, “There is an urgency for the international community, as well as their obligation under unanimously adopted UN principle Responsibility to Protect and provide immediate humanitarian assistance to millions of Afghans on the brink of starvation.”

These experts and former diplomats said that United Nations’ (UN) principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a different principle with different meaning and it does not cover humanitarian assistance as claimed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Since 15th August 2021, when Taliban took over Kabul government, Afghanistan is facing acute shortage of food and banks are facing liquidity issues which made the crisis worse. Reema Omer who works as adviser for International Commission for Jurists in her tweet quoted the document adopted on (R2P) by the UN General Assembly resolution in 2005 World Summit Outcome, and related the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle with genocide , war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. She said R2P had nothing to do with the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the Prime Minister should not have mentioned this principle.

Former special secretary foreign office Najmus Saqib while terming it the biggest blunder by the PM office told The Nation that the Prime Minister’s tweets on the foreign policy or such matters should be drafted by the Foreign Ministry and if drafted by the PM should be vetted by the Foreign Office. “It’s the biggest fiasco in the foreign policy domain,” Najmus Saqib further commented. He said this happens when foreign offices are ignored in consultations over foreign policy or UN-related matters.

However Pakistan’s former Ambassador to UN Shamshad Ahmed differed and said Prime Minister Imran Khan made a sincere message for Afghanistan and its technical explanation whether it applies to Afghanistan or not, should be ignored. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sincerity should be seen in the tweet, not the technical details.

“All laws and documents of the UN related to humanitarian assistance are applied to Afghanistan,” he commented. “Afghanistan was destroyed by the West therefore any rule which is related to assistance should be invoked and should not be made controversial”, he commented while talking to The Nation.

Former foreign secretary Inamul Haq told The Nation that Responsibility to Protect principle was invoked initially on Rawandan genocide by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Anan. However, the situation in Afghanistan is different. He said now it’s the responsibility of the UN to immediately call an international donor conference on Afghanistan to address the issue.