Wednesday, November 11, 2020
The Embassy of the United States of America in Islamabad came under intense fire on Tuesday after its social media team committed a diplomatic faux pas by retweeting a statement criticising the Pakistani government.
The embassy later said its Twitter account "was accessed [...] without authorisation."
Several Twitter users had taken strong exception to the US Embassy's Twitter account retweeting a political statement made by PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal.
Commenting on an article by the Washington Post titled ‘Trump's defeat is a blow for the world's demagogues and dictators’, Ahsan Iqbal had taken a swipe at Prime Minister Imran Khan and written on the microblogging website that “We have one (demagogue/dictator) in Pakistan too. He will be shown way out soon. Insha Allah!”
Shortly after, the US Embassy's Twitter account retweeted Iqbal’s statement, inviting a furious reaction and widespread condemnation from both Pakistani citizens as well as political figures.
Even though the embassy later deleted the tweet, Twitterati were quick to capture screenshots. Soon after, hashtags like #ApologiseUSEmbassy started trending on the micro-blogging platform.
On Wednesday afternoon, the mission clarified that: "The US Embassy does not endorse the posting or retweeting of political messages. We apologise for any confusion that may have resulted from the unauthorised post."
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari had strongly condemned the incident.
"US Embassy still working in Trumpian mode in support of convicted absconder & intervening brazenly in our internal politics!" she wrote on Twitter.
In response to the apology, Mazari rejected the explanation, adding that it is "unacceptable" that someone working at the embassy is "pushing a particular political party's agenda."
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail wrote that it was “utterly absurd” of the embassy to endorse derogatory remarks about PM Imran Khan, terming the move “against diplomatic protocols.”
While most people vehemently censured the US embassy on Twitter, others appealed to the Government of Pakistan to take action and demand that the foreign mission to issue an official apology.