Pakistan has said that it is open to importing oil and food products from Russia amid the ongoing backlash against the country for the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a press briefing, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said the country has an “open policy” driven by a national interest to expand economic and trade relations.
“Our policy is clear, you know in terms of expanding economic and trade relations, we have an open policy, driven by national interest. Wherever we see there is a national benefit, we pursue those options and avenues,” The Express Tribune newspaper quoted Iftikhar as saying.
The Pakistan foreign office spokesperson made these remarks while responding to a question that whether or not Pakistan was considering importing oil and food grains from Russia.
This comes as the government raised the prices of petroleum products by PKR 30 per litre, stating that the decision was taken to ensure the revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and that they had no other option.
Russia had launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the day when former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to visit Moscow to push for the construction of a long-delayed, multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian companies.
Many had termed Imran Khan’s visit as ill-timed.
Imran Khan, who was ousted from power, has claimed the new Shehbaz Sharif government had dropped plans to acquire cheap Russian oil that his government managed to secure.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari recently defended Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow. During a media briefing at the UN, Bilawal asserted that the former Pakistan PM was unaware that Russia would invade Ukraine on the very day he landed in the Russian capital.
“As far the former prime minister’s trip to Russia, I would absolutely defend the former prime minister of Pakistan. He conducted that trip as part of his foreign policy and without knowing that — no one is psychic, no one has a sixth sense — there’s no way we could have possibly known that that would be the time when the current conflict will start,” the Pakistan foreign minister said.
“In his capacity as prime minister, the way he conducted himself in foreign policy, particularly in the context of this Russian trip, I will go as far as to defend the fact that he did not know the Ukraine conflict will start on the very day that he was there,” he added.