PM’s ‘small men occupying big offices’ remark: Apt or undiplomatic?


Prime Minister Imran Khan has stirred up a new debate by his “small men occupying big offices” remark in which he targeted his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi after the neighbouring country called off the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers — just a day after confirming the development.

In a tweet on Saturday, the premier said, “Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”

Social media had its own way of perceiving the statement in which while some termed it a clever counterpunch, others were of the believed that fighting fire with fire would not help in the diplomatic cause.

Anchorperson Kamran Shahid called the premier’s statement exceptional. “Nawaz Sharif would never dare to speak that loud and clear while dealing the iron fist Modi the way Imran dealt and responded,” he added.

“Modi govt went below belt to provoke PM Khan and apparently they succeeded but it’s clear that Indian strategy is to benefit from hostility and not talking,” said senior analyst Moeed Pirzada.

Journalist Atif Mateen was of the view that Pakistan-India diplomacy has reached a new level. He tweeted, “Now that Pakistani PM, president and FM have come out with gun blazing on Modi, India on social media, the chance of ice melting looks far away. This form of diplomacy is bound to trigger anger on Indian side aside from the war on Twitter.”

Among those amused by the remark included Twitter user Adnan Zaheer who wrote, “This one line from PM Imran Khan enough to set all BJP on fire: small Men occupying big offices.”

Senior editor Talat Aslam said “Populist rhetoric sucks… While most sane Pakistanis support Imran Khan’s peace overtures with India and share his ire at India’s rude response, how can one forget his own hysterically hawkish recent tweets when Nawaz Sharif was trying to extend a hand of friendship?”

News analyst Sabir Shakir termed PM Khan’s statement a huge slap on the face of Indian government and its armed forces, upholding the nationalist discourse.

Former minister Ahsan Iqbal wrote, “You should know better than anyone else that diplomacy is not about genuine desires it is a chessboard where nations play power games. It is done not on pure intentions rather calculations.”

“Indian statement was terrible diplomacy and now PM Imran Khan has made sure that they aren’t the only ones capable of trampling on diplomatic norms,” said columnist Mohammad Taqi.

Former PTI leader Javed Hashmi was disappointed at the way PM Khan proceeded with an offer for talks with India. “Pakistan faced embarrassment for the first time in 71 years due to him (PM Khan),” he commented.

Columnist Ali Salman Alvi took a hit at the PML-N leaders who “in the hatred of Imran Khan (were) furthering the myopic narrative of Modi and co because it momentarily suits (their) political agenda. Loose cannons cutting loose.”