New Delhi: A cartoon published in Pakistani newspaper The Nation has sparked a controversy for its depiction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, seen pulling a carriage with US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sitting in it.
Readers criticised the publication, saying the cartoon was in bad taste and that it mocked Khan. The cartoon, published on 25 September, also depicts Trump dangling a carrot in front of Khan, meant to be symbolic of the US president’s mediation offer.
Many readers pointed out their objections were for how the criticism of Khan was depicted, and not the criticism itself.
This cartoon was published in yesterday’s @The_Nation. I personally think that it is very offensive and insulting. Everyone has right to criticize PM @ImranKhanPTI but its so important to show some decency. Even the apology (later) couldn’t justify such a shameful act. pic.twitter.com/sPuqGDGQrt
— ßushra Nasir Ahmed (@bushra_2010) September 27, 2019
Imran Khan is the most popular leader in New York right now. and the way he’s representing Pakistan
It’s a proud feeling for every Patriots Pakistani. And at home THE NATION a Pakistani newspaper made this cartoon for their prime minister what a shame. pic.twitter.com/dZvbeytPIL
— Usman Haider Rajput PPP SBA (@MUsmanH1723215) September 25, 2019
This was on The Nation today..
For some this cartoon is disgraceful..to the man who’s fighting this ungrateful nation’s case on the world forum
But this strengthens my resolve to stand by IK..no matter how small but I WILL contribute in his struggle
— donno (@nogreatgame) September 25, 2019
Following the backlash, The Nation issued an apology, which comes ahead of PM Khan’s address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The publication said the cartoon did fall short of their “standards” and doesn’t reflect its “editorial policy”. The statement went on to reiterate that the artwork was “inappropriate”.
A sincere apology from us to our readers… pic.twitter.com/tQyMTswN74
— The_Nation (@The_Nation) September 26, 2019
The cartoon and the apology. pic.twitter.com/ufd9qAhaoc
— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) September 26, 2019
Speaking to the media after the meeting with Khan, Trump had said, “If I can help, I would certainly do. It will be dependent on both of these gentlemen (Modi and Khan), one without the other doesn’t work if you’re going to do mediation or if you’re going to do an arbitration.” Trump has offered to mediate on several occasions in the last seven weeks.
Khan has been trying to pressurise the international community to intervene in the Kashmir issue after the Modi government scrapped Article 370 and divided the regions of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh into two union territories. Pakistan even downgraded diplomatic ties with India. New Delhi, however, has maintained that Kashmir is an internal issue and any conversation with Pakistan can only occur after the issue of terrorism is addressed.