(PKONWEB Report) — Some Pakistani media went on overdrive on reports that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi underwent routine security checks at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport despite his status as a high-level diplomat– he had opted to declare his trip personal.
Abbasi was on a private trip to visit his sister who is receiving medical care in the U.S.
According to reports, the Prime Minister was frisked during security procedure at the airport, a normal procedure after arrival of passengers on any international flight in the U.S. or worldwide.
Abbasi, known for a modest and simple private life, was also spotted traveling alone at a train station during his visit to the U.K. a few months back having traveled on a flight to London as an ordinary Pakistani– nothing unusual for those who shun spotlight and pomp and fair and wish to be treated as an ordinary person if so desired.
But after footage emerged of Abbasi making his way through a routine security check alongside regular passengers, some Pakistani television networks criticized what they considered a diplomatic insult.
Overseas Pakistanis– many PKonweb asked for comment, said Abbasi was setting a new normal in public life and governance hitherto marred by the lifestyles of the filthy rich many of who also buy their places in politics and tout protocols. “He’s a cut above”…”has lived in the US for years. There’s nothing unusual about his demeanor,” said Raghib Ahmed, a Pakistani American.
SHAHID KHAQAN ABBASI'S PRIVATE VISIT TO USA TO BEG NRO FOR NAWAZ SHARIF. PUT HIS OWN SELF RESPECT AND COUNTRY'S RESPECT ON pic.twitter.com/GOQtCeumFH
— Syed Shahid Hussain (@shussain1849) March 25, 2018
Arjumand Azhar, a media professional and talk show host said, “I totally agree. He was on a private visit and acted in a proper fashion.”
Several Pakistanis in Riyadh and Jeddah were of the opinion that microscoping a good act and then giving a spin to it should be avoided and be above politics, a highly polarized activity in the country passing through project democracy– a work in progress where military rule has dominated in the past.
Abbasi also met with Vice President Mike Pence during his U.S. visit. A White House statement said that during the meeting, Pence supported Trump’s demand that Pakistan “must do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in their country.”
According to Foreign Policy magazine, the Trump White House is considering “unprecedented political penalties” on Pakistan for alleged Taliban support. The magazine reported that options under consideration include permanently cutting off the U.S. military aid that was suspended in January, and imposing visa bans on Pakistani government officials accused of providing support to the militants.
Pakistan, a nuclear power and significant customer for American military technology, has been a non-Nato ally in the U.S.-led War on Terror.
Both countries along with 22 other nations are participating in month-long Gulf Shield Joint Exercise-1— a multilateral (land, sea and air) military drill off the Arabian Gulf on the eastern board of Saudi Arabia.