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Imran Khan feels excitement in Russia but Pakistanis thinking PM’s visit double-edged sword

Journalist Hamid Mir said Kremlin's timing on Ukraine had a message for the US: 'Imran Khan, who was waiting for Biden's phone call, is now sitting with Putin.’

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New Delhi: From “so much excitement” to “rarest of rare” to “double-edged sword”, these are some of the expressions that are being used by the Pakistani media to describe Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first visit to Moscow. Khan is the first Pakistani PM in over two decades to be visiting Russia.

Walking on the red-carpet at the Moscow airport, Khan said, “What a time I have come, so much excitement.” Pakistan’s PMO shared pictures of Khan in which he was given a red carpet reception at the Moscow airport and greeted by Russian deputy foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.

Imran Khan’s two-day official visit is being viewed with much anticipation as Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries not to interfere in this matter.

How the Pakistan press sees the visit

Pakistani Officials termed this visit the rarest opportunities for the energy-starved country to make headway in energy, regional connectivity and role in Afghanistan post US-withdrawal, a Dawn report said. “As the PM has already played down the timing of the visit and any effect it would have on Pakistan’s relations with the West, there is a thinking that this visit is a double-edged sword and the government must tread with caution.”

“Thursday will not be a random day for PM Khan to have a diplomatic speech as he is expected to be measured and calculated in his words,” said Dawn.

The Express Tribune said, “The visit will contribute to the further deepening the multifaceted Pakistan-Russia relationship and enhancement of mutual cooperation in diverse fields.”

“They will also have a wide-ranging exchange of views on major regional and international issues, including Islamophobia and the situation in Afghanistan,” the report said.

Pakistan’s I&B Minister Fawad Chaudhary called Imran Khan’s visit historic.

Where was Putin?

Pakistan Ex-servicemen Society Major Adil Raja(R) said in his tweet: “Prime Minister’s visit to Russia at this critical juncture is a slap on the face of ‘western hypocrisy’ which PMIK repeatedly keeps exposing in his talks around the world after saying #AbsolutelyNot to the USA.”

Pakistani Journalist Naila Inayat too reacted on Khan’s visit: “Soon Putin will find out there’s someone who knows Russia more than him.”

Senior journalist Hamid Mir said: “@KremlinRussia_E chose this timing for attacking #Ukraina to give a message to @JoeBiden that the man who was waiting for your phone call is now sitting here with me in #Moscow.”

A Twitter user by the name of Adain Khakwani commented on the red carpet reception in Moscow: “Ya hota Hai leader jis ki Duniya izat karti hai.. great imran Khan”.

However, some Pakistanis raised the question, why the deputy FM of Russia greeted Imran Khan and not the finance minister or Putin himself.

Another Twitter user took a jibe at the PM and said: “show us the departure and farewell too.”

Also Read: Ukraine crisis: Russia ‘hopes’ sanctions don’t impact S-400 & other defence projects with India


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