Islamabad: Breaking his silence on his frisking at a US airport last month, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday said that he was neither ashamed at the process, nor did it reduced his status as the country’s prime minister.
Abbasi revealed that he had travelled to the US for the last 40 years and has gone through routine security checks multiple times during his visits, Express Tribune reported.
“I’ve even seen former US president Bill Clinton go through such security checks. When one visits another country, it is best to respect their laws and protocol. I don’t think it reduces my respect, I think it increases it. Whether I am the Prime Minister or not, it should not be deemed disrespectful if I went through their security check,” Abbasi said.
The Pakistan Prime Minister explained that he could have requested for VIP protocol by writing a letter to the US embassy and asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to accompany him at the airport and “they would have concealed me and taken me through secret pathways at the airport”, but he opted not to.
“The law is the same for everyone and I think it’s more respectful to be in accordance with the law,” Abbasi further said.
Last month, there were reports that Abbasi was frisked at the John F. Kennedy airport in New York during the security procedure.
A video of the incident showed Prime Minister Abbasi, who reportedly was on a private visit to meet his ailing sister in the US, adjusting his t-shirt after getting out of security checks with his jacket and a trolley bag
The deputy spokesperson of the US Embassy in India, Alexander McLaren said last week that Abbasi was frisked at the US airport as he was on a private visit.
The private visit by Abbasi comes at a time when Pakistan-US relations have been strained lately, especially since US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter in January that Pakistan was not doing much to combat terrorism on their own soil.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”, Trump tweeted.