Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi security-checked at JFK airport; country's media reacts angrily

A video of Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi showing him undergoing a security check at New York’s JFK airport during a recent US visit has gone viral, said media reports.

In the video, Abbasi is seen picking up his bag and coat and walking out from a security check. Abbasi was on a personal visit to meet his ailing sister, reported DNA. During the visit, he also reportedly met US vice-president Mike Pence.

The move is unprecedented as usually, no head of state is subject to a security check, be it a private trip or a state visit, according to Financial Express.

The Times of India reported that the Pakistani media felt this an 'indignity' to their prime minister. "He should be ashamed for saying he went on a private visit. He is the prime minister… he has a diplomatic passport …there is no such thing as a private visit. He is representing the country… there are certain protocols when you are representing 22 crore people," roared one panellist, insisting that Pakistan had been humiliated and Abbasi had brought shame on the country.

File image of Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Reuters

File image of Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Reuters

However, according to Geo News, Abbasi is known for “adhering to simplicity in his personal life” and that’s the reason why he “chose” to follow the standard security procedures in place for all passengers during his visit to the US on Saturday. The report further said that Abbasi was previously spotted travelling alone to a railway station during his visit to Britain.

The incident comes at a time the US is considering tough measures on Pakistan, including a visa ban and other sanctions on individuals in the Pakistani government, according to News18.

Earlier in 2018, US president Donald Trump had threatened to cut aid to Pakistan for allegedly lying to the US and offering "little help" in hunting "terrorists" in Afghanistan. "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump had said.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since then, with the US administration taking a hard line on Afghanistan.


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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2018 12:42:16 IST

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