Imran, foreign policy & corruption
IN an oath taking ceremony at Islamabad, Imran took a swipe at government’s policies. However, Biden has solved foreign policy issue in his UNGA address on 21 Sept 2022.
He said that we do not seek conflict. We do not ask any nation to choose between US or any other partner.
Our appeal is our strength. While PTI and PDM blame each other for their energy policies and corruption, India saved Rs 35,000 crore from discounted Russian crude oil since start of Ukraine war (19 Sept 2022, The Times of India).
Imran has announced another long march to make Pakistan independent. With reports of PTI weighing taking COAS appointment to Court, it is clear Imran just wants power.
Since the case is about legitimacy of PM, vote of no confidence by the same parliament that voted Imran to premiership, so let PTI bring the case.
If the case is heard the office holders, government and entire process is on strong legal footings.
The advice of Chief Justice to PTI to return to parliament is a sign of winds of change in power corridors.
While Pakistan faces political standoff, here is how other countries are solving their challenges.
Delhi is protecting national interest by engaging with the West and East without taking any pressure from anyone.
Islamabad should also do that. Biden has made his position clear on international relations.
Our government (PM) and opposition (Imran) should give their policies to deal with our challenges including economy, energy, and corruption in a country with less than $1200 per capita income.
Imran is using his imaginary Russian oil deal for politics. It is cover-up for his pre and post Covid energy corruption and failure of his foreign policy.
India saved 5000 crore in 2020 by filling its strategic oil reserves during lockdown (4 June 2020, Hindustan Times) while Imran’s cabinet members and advisors lined their pockets instead of buying cheap oil and gas for Pakistan.
Imran did not act against them to save his government at the cost of Pakistan while undermining PM’s oath of office.
His FM looked the other way as the PM in waiting. In contrast, this is what India’s External Affairs Minister had to say on high oil prices, foreign policy and public interest.
We have been very open and honest about our interests. I have a country which has a per capita income of $2000.
These are not people who can afford higher energy prices. It is my obligation, my moral duty to actually ensure that I get them the best deal I can from the world.
India’s oil imports from Russia after Western sanctions crossed $15bn in 2022 from $1.5bn last year (Reuters).
By offering further discounts to India, Putin blocked West’s price cap proposal on Russian oil.
The idea is already dead due to lack of support in EU and other Western suppliers. Cheap oil will help Delhi drastically lower its import bills and free money for spending on welfare and infrastructure while controlling inflation, rupee exchange rate and saving national silver.
India is clear that fetching the best price is the priority, even it means bypassing the West’s sanctions.
Essentially India is looking after its own interests. India is strengthening its rupee. The State Bank of India is facilitating the transactions to help boost current Indian exports to Russia by $5bn this year alone (India’s trade with Russia in rupees to start soon 14 Sept 2022 Reuters).
Exports fell after Russian sanctions due to inadequate payment methods forcing countries to use their own currencies for trade and stocks including India, China and Russia.
It explains why State Bank, rupee devaluation and other factors are not under Pakistan’s control.
Last month India’s Trade Secretary said that the rupee denominated sales will be a big, big advantage.
I see in the next two months $8-9bn of trade with Russia and Sri Lanka. Indian companies are swapping dollar for Asian currencies to buy Russian coal.
Iran is seeking rupee, riyal trade with India. India’s expansion to Russian and Sri Lanka markets is geo-strategic reward to Delhi under Indo-Pacific policy at the cost of China and Europe.
Putin is also guarding long-term national interests with China. It is mandatory to buy cheap Russian oil and gas with Rubles.
Both countries will use Rubles and Renminbi for gas payments under new regional financial and payment systems.
He has offered 18bn Russian stocks in Chinese Yuan. Islamabad should prepare for such policies in national interest for strong economy and Rupee.
Europe is facing energy crisis despite spending €500bn on it in 2021 alone. With cheap Covid energy contract ending in 2022, Europe needs another €1.5tn for cutting cost of living.
Europe imported 42.4GW of Chinese photovoltaic modules for $23bn in 2021 and 2022 (Infolink, Taiwan).
However, Imran criticizes others for high-energy costs, rupee devaluation, poor economy or rise in cost of living for his corrupt government failures for getting energy independence, following Western trickle down economic policies and giving away State Bank control.
(Biden rejected it in his tweet for UK PM.British Pound falls to $1.10 following UK mini-budget tax cuts for rich, 23 Sept 2022 Guardian).
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.