Asia - Pacific

Pakistan to import 2M metric tons wheat from Russia

Islamabad wants to construct 1,100-kilometre gas pipeline from Karachi to Punjab with Russia’s help

Aamir Latif   | 02.03.2022
Pakistan to import 2M metric tons wheat from Russia

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan will import 2 million metric tons of wheat from Russia despite the international sanctions on Russia that came with its war on Ukraine, according to the Pakistani prime minister.

Announcing the development, Imran Khan on Monday said Islamabad will also import natural gas from Moscow to meet his country’s rising domestic and industrial demands.

In his televised address to the nation, Khan, who paid a two-day maiden visit to Moscow last week, said Islamabad would toe an “independent” foreign policy, and no longer join "anyone’s" war.

“My two recent visits to China and Russia have earned respect for Pakistan. You will soon see the benefits of these visits,” he contended.

Pakistan and Russia have inked two agreements -- in 2015 and 2021-- for the construction of a 1,100-kilometre (684-mile) gas pipeline, known as the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project, from the port city of Karachi to northeastern Punjab province.

The $2.5-billion project is slated to begin next year, but analysts see dim chances for meeting the deadline due to myriad global sanctions on Moscow, which will have longtime impacts.

Referring to Pakistan’s participation in Washington’s war against terrorism, Khan said Islamabad conceded heavy losses in terms of lives and economy in the so-called war.

“We lost 80,000 lives and conceded a loss of $150 billion by participating in the war (against terrorism), although we had nothing to do with it. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York,” he noted.

“The most shameful thing was that our ally was bombing our own country," he said referring to over 400 US drone strikes on Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near Afghanistan border from 2004 to 2016.

Khan took the opportunity to target his political opponents, accusing three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, and former President Asif Zardari for their alleged tacit support to the US drone strikes.

“Those whose assets are abroad, they cannot forge an independent foreign policy. Only those who have no foreign assets can do this," he said.

Khan also announced some measures including a reduction in petroleum and electricity prices in an attempt to mitigate rising inflation in the country.

The Russia-Ukraine war entered its sixth day on Tuesday.

The war has been met with outrage from the international community, with the European Union, UK, Japan, and the US implementing a range of economic sanctions on Russia.

Western countries have also agreed to supply weapons to Ukraine.

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