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"We wanted to get cheap Russian crude oil just like India...," says Imran Khan
Islamabad: Former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan once again lauded India's foreign policy and said that Islamabad "wanted to get cheap Russian crude oil just like India" but was not able to do so as his government collapsed in a no-confidence motion.
Addressing the nation in a video message, he said, "We wanted to get cheap Russian crude oil just like India but that could not happen as unfortunately, my government fell due to a no-confidence motion." Notably, he was the first Pakistani PM to visit Moscow in the past 23 years, Khan could not broker any deal that could give relief to the cash-strapped country.
Pakistan is reeling under the worst-ever economic crisis and Khan lamented over the fact that his country could also purchase Russian crude oil at a discounted rate that India enjoys despite the ongoing Ukraine war.
It is also important to remember he was in Russia on the day of the start of the conflict last year. He mentioned his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the clip.
Interestingly, this was not the first time when Khan acknowledged India's achievements in terms of growing its economy and purchasing Russian oil despite Western pressure.
"No other leader except Nawaz in the world has properties worth billions. Tell me about one country whose Premier or leader has billions worth of properties outside the country. Even in our neighbouring country, how many properties does PM Modi has outside India?" he had said at a public gathering in September 2022.
Earlier in May 2022, Khan hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to purchase cheap oil from Russia despite pressure from the United States.
"Despite being part of the Quad, India withstood US pressure and bought cheap oil from Russia to facilitate its people," tweeted Imran, adding, "Our government was trying to achieve this through an independent foreign policy."
India is the world's third-largest oil-consuming and importing nation. It imports 85 per cent of its crude oil needs. Ever since the war between Russia and Ukraine, the West and Europe imposed stringent sanctions on its energy. This resulted in Russia's offering more discounts to its oldest ally, India.
Sanctions hit Russia signed an agreement with an Indian oil giant intending to boost the crude oil supply. According to the Russian news agency, TASS, Moscow's top oil company Rosneft signed a deal with the Indian Oil Company to increase the supply of petroleum to India.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik in April 2023 claimed that the first-ever shipment of cheap oil from Russia would reach Pakistan next month, reported Geo News.
During an interview with a private news channel, the State Minister said that Islamabad has finalised the deal with Moscow, adding, "The first shipment will reach next month through a cargo."
The deal, which has been in the making for months, could ease some of Pakistan's fiscal trouble as the country, a net importer of energy, looked for ways to cut its oil import bill.
Malik said the government had already made progress in this regard and hoped to issue separate billing for the underprivileged and elite class, reported Geo News.
Last month, the sources told The News that the Petroleum Division was trying to procure Russian crude oil at around USD 50 per barrel, at least USD 10 per barrel below the price cap imposed by the G7 countries on the precious commodity being taken from Russia due to its war on Ukraine.
Officials, involved in the virtual talks with Russia, had shared that Moscow was more interested in completing all the prerequisites such as the mode of payment, shipping cost with premium, and insurance cost before signing the agreement with Pakistan, reported Geo News.
Talks have been ongoing between Pakistan and Russia since last year for the trade of oil which had remained a contentious issue in Pakistan's politics.
Former prime minister Imran Khan had repeatedly claimed that his government was ousted for pursuing an "independent foreign policy," which would have allowed the country to buy oil at a discounted price from Russia, just like India. (ANI)