Certainly that Pakistan is passing through the worst economic and political crisis in its history of more than seven decades. Current challenges are unprecedented. Foreign debt has reached its peak, inflation, price hike, political turmoil, etc., all are reinforcing difficulties for Pakistan. Under such a critical scenario, the nation has to think smartly, and wisely. Without compromising national interests, Pakistan needs to explore all possible options to improve its economy and political stability. Pakistan has the capability to come out of the crisis, in the past, we did come out of a few severe crises. It is believed, that when we put our national interests at the top, the nation is united and can overcome any challenges.
There are signals from Washington for positive developments, China is also assisting Pakistan to come out of severe challenges. CPEC is serving as Oxygen for the ailing economy.
Fortunately, following the visit of former prime minister Imran Khan to Moscow, Russia has sent a draft four-year (2022-2025) roadmap for the development of trade and economic cooperation including an increase in bilateral trade turnover, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.
The draft roadmap, shared by the Russian embassy in Islamabad with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will stimulate the economic activity of Russian and Pakistani companies in the markets of both countries. It will also assist business communities of both countries in raising awareness about the opportunities available in the markets of the Russian Federation and Pakistan.
The sector-wise detail of the proposed roadmap is as follows:-
Industrial sector: Considering the possibility of supplies of assembled vehicles for state and private customers and implementation of the vehicles assembly project in Pakistan, Russian company Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny ZavodLLC (UAZ LLC) has shown interest in establishing such a plant.
Supplies of utility equipment, transportation management digital solutions, the possibility of supplies of railway engineering products, the possibility of supplies of uninterrupted power systems, as well as, other converting equipment are on offer from Russia.
Russia asks Pakistan to start talks on bilateral trade:-
With respect to cooperation in the field of the aviation industry with Pakistan, consideration of the possibility of supplies of air navigation and air space control, surveillance and communication systems, weather radars, M/s Almaz Antey JSC, and Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA) to cooperate with each other.
Cooperation in the field of pharmaceuticals and chemical products: Promotion of certification of the products of the Russian company Ozon Pharmaceuticals LLC, supplies of Russian medicines, the registration process of DNA human insulin, Rosinsulin, in Pakistan, and assistance in organizing an inspection by a specialized agency is on the cards. Russian organization, Zavid Medsintz and DRAP will cooperate with each other in this field.
The possibility of supplies of Russian chemical industry products is also part of the proposed roadmap.
Both countries will cooperate in the oil and gas industry, extraction of other mineral resources, pipeline construction, and related infrastructure. Both sides will extend cooperation in offshore projects in Pakistan, as well as, outside Pakistan.
Implementation of prospective joint projects in natural gas pipeline construction, including natural gas, has pipeline project “Pakistan Stream” (Karachi-Lahore); natural gas pipeline project Russia-Kazakhstan- Uzbekistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan, and natural gas pipeline project Gwadar-Nawabshah. OGDCL and Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) from the Pakistani side cooperate with Russian oil and gas companies.
For logistics and procurement of large-scale infrastructure projects in Pakistan, Russian Gazprom’s subsidiary Neft- Snabzheniye LLC and Pakistan companies will cooperate with each other. Russian company Zarubezhneft JSC and Pakistan Company MPCL will cooperate in the implementation of joint projects for the development of oil and gas fields in Pakistan and in third countries.
Russian company Rosgeo will undertake an analysis of the Pakistani mineral resource sector to identify possible areas of cooperation/ investment. Both sides will cooperate in expanding the Pakistani mineral mining and processing business. Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) through its subsidiary Bolan Mining Enterprise (BME) and Russian mining companies will engage with each other.
For LNG supplies to Pakistan, Russian company PJSC Novatek will interact with Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) and Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
The Russian side will invest in setting up refineries, upgrading existing refineries, virtual LNG pipelines, onshore storage of LNG, and strategic oil storage and strategic gas storages (underground gas storage in continuation of the “Pakistan Stream” project).
Russian company Gazprom EP International B.V will provide System of Production Facilities Monitoring (SPFM) software for oil and gas field production facilities in Pakistan.
Both sides will cooperate in the extraction of hydropower and renewable resources including the project of a multipurpose dam on the river Shyok.
Russian companies will participate in prospective projects in the power industry of Pakistan including (i) TPP Muzaffargarh- renovation, modernization, and up-gradation of the main equipment achieving an increase in the unit capacity of the existing three units from 210 to 235 MW each;(ii) transfer of existing units of TPPs to a combined seam-gas cycle with an increase in both the power of the units and their efficiency;(iii) HPP “Dasu 2” the second stage of TPP Dasu with a capacity 2100 MW (construction of a turbine hall); and(iv) HPP “Takot 3” 1490 MW supply, installation and commissioning of the main generating equipment (construction of the turbine hall).. Menace of terrorism is an international curse and should be addressed collectively.
Sanctions on Russia are imposed by the US unilaterally, it has not passed through the UN, and so it is not mandatory for all countries to abide by them. India is violating American sanctions, and procuring cheaper fuel, Grain, and Weapons like S-400.
Pakistan is a sovereign state and needs to look after its vital interests. The past experience, aligning with only one super power was a bitter lesson, and need to realign and multiple options to be explored. We may keep good relations with all and seek our objectives from any nation, whichever suits us. Pakistan needs to avail all available opportunities.