Russian Offer

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Over the last few years, Russia has shown its intent and willingness to promote cooperation with Pakistan in different realms.

For this purpose, mutual engagement has also been held at different levels. Recent meeting of Russian President Putin with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of SCO moot remained fruitful and productive.

Divulging details of the meeting on Saturday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told the media that Moscow has offered to provide wheat and gas to Pakistan.

Given current situation, Pakistan needs both commodities urgently and that too at reasonable price in order to check soaring inflation.

We have been importing wheat over the last two years yet this year the situation is likely to be more serious as domestic wheat production would fall owing to catastrophic flooding which has put one third of the country under water.

There are fears that many farmers especially in Sindh province will not be able to sow wheat because of water standing in their lands.

This has increased possibility that the country will have less wheat production in coming season as compared to previous years.

Hence, we should ensure timely procurement of wheat and Russia could be a good source for it as we can get the commodity from it at reasonable rates.

As regards gas, Russia has pipelines in Central Asian Countries and these could be extended to Pakistan via Afghanistan.

Though there will be pressure from some countries for not importing gas from Russia, yet we believe that we need a long-term agreement to ensure uninterrupted supplies to our domestic and industrial consumers.

We should keep the interests of our public supreme. If India can purchase crude oil from Russia, Pakistan should also be free to import petroleum products from where it considers most feasible and cost effective.

Pakistan is already faced with an unprecedented calamity and creating hurdles in its way to purchase inexpensive gas or oil will amount to furthering its problems.

At the same time, Pakistan should also accelerate efforts to enhance cooperation with Russia especially its investment in critical sectors will give a major boost to our economy.

 

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