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Friday, February 16, 2024

Foreign Office disowns Fatemi’s US visit

Even though Tariq Fatemi's recent trip to the US initially appeared to be an official one, the FO disowned it later on

The Pakistan Embassy’s Ambassador participated in strategic meetings with Tariq Fatemi, the SAPM (Special Assistant to the Prime Minister), who arrived in the US capital last week.

Official pictures of Tariq Fatemi meetings in US were released by the Pakistan Embassy in US. In these pictures, Fatemi is accompanied by Pakistani Ambassador and other Pakistani diplomats.

The US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price also stated that in these meetings, the officials discussed topics including Afghanistan, Russo-Ukrainian war and its deleterious effects.

The Pakistan Embassy  in US also published a press release of the meeting while the Pakistani media also covered it. Some said that Fatemi was sent to arrange a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif during the UN General Assembly in New York which is to be held later this year.

Since the tweets were posted by the official twitter account of the Pakistan Embassy in the US, it seemed that Fatemi was officially sent as SAPM to seek US support as an effort to revive the economy.

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Now, however, the visit has been disowned as a “personal” one. This not only surprised Pakistanis but has also raised many eyebrows in Washington’s diplomatic circles.

On July 22, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad disavowed the meeting. While answering a question about the agenda of Fatemi’s meetings, the spokesperson said, “Mr Fatemi is on a private visit to Washington and [the] Foreign Office did not play any role in his meeting with US officials”.

This is especially concerning as Pakistan has been increasingly gaining the reputation of being a country where domestic political situations often affect its relations with other countries, even if it is with a superpower like the US.

According to a few, this time, an internal disagreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (under PPP) and the Central government (under PMLN) could be the reason for this recent confusion as Tariq Fatemi is known for his close relations with PMLN. Others say that the visit was discarded as a personal visit only after Tariq Fatemi failed to achieve the goals of his visit.