The Foreign Office on Monday strongly rejected a foreign media report claiming Pakistan was allegedly selling weapons to Ukraine to secure the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme.
In its ‘baseless and fabricated’ report, The Intercept — an online news organisation — claimed that Islamabad was secretly selling arms to Kyiv as part of its deal struck with the Washington-based lender.
“These arms sales were intended to supply the Ukrainian military, hence, forcing Pakistan to take a side in the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” the report had claimed.
Responding to media queries about the false report, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch categorically rejected the story as “baseless and fabricated”.
“The IMF Standby Arrangement for Pakistan was successfully negotiated between Pakistan and the IMF to implement difficult but essential economic reforms. Giving any other colour to these negotiations is disingenuous,” the spokesperson said.
She further said that Islamabad maintains a policy of strict neutrality in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia and in that context, does not provide any arms and ammunition to them.
“Pakistan’s defence exports are always accompanied by strict end-user requirements,” she added.
Ukrainian FM rejects media speculations
On July 20, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who arrived in Islamabad on a two-day official visit, had denied media reports claiming that Pakistan was supplying arms to Kyiv amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.
Addressing a joint news conference along with then-foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in the federal capital, Kuleba had said there was no arms supply agreement between Pakistan and Ukraine.
He also thanked Pakistan for supporting Ukraine’s stance on its sovereignty and security.
The Ukrainian FM had also expressed interest in boosting trade and economic ties saying that the country was looking forward to holding the inaugural meeting of a Pakistan-Ukraine commission on economic cooperation.
Ukraine considers Pakistan a good partner and was ready to work in the area of food security, he had added.
Ukraine’s top diplomat had also praised Pakistan’s humanitarian assistance to the people of the conflict-hit country.
Speaking on the occasion, Bilawal had emphasised the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts through dialogue and engagements, saying Pakistan was ready to support peace initiatives for lasting stability in the region.
In July this year, the IMF had deposited $1.2 billion into the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) account, boosting the cash-strapped nation’s hope for economic stability, as it teetered on the brink of default for several months.
Earlier, the global lender’s executive board approved a $3 billion SBA under a nine-month programme, which came after eight months of tough negotiations over fiscal discipline.
Pakistan had reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF in June, securing a short-term pact, which got more than expected funding for the crises-hit country of 230 million.