Prime Minister Imran Khan will become the first Pakistani PM to visit Russia in over 20 years. The last Pakistan PM to visit Russia was Nawaz Sharif that went to Moscow in 1999.
Currently, PM is preparing to undertake an official visit to that country during the ongoing month. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed on Monday.
Previously, Pakistan and Russia had developed a bitter rivalry during the Cold War days. It was the time after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. The Pakistan Prime Minister at that time supported the US and assisted the Afghan resistance factions with their guerrilla warfare.
Recently, Pakistan and Russia has tried to strengthen the relations between them. Russia lifted a longstanding arms embargo imposed on Pakistan in 2014 after many decades.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a statement:
“Our relations with Russia have gradually improved. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Russia. And Prime Minister Imran Khan will go to Moscow this month.”
Foreign Minister also said:
“I think our relations with Russia are undergoing a pleasant change.”
Increased diplomatic engagements of Pakistan and Russia are practice to diversify Pakistan’s foreign policy.
History of PM Imran Khan with Russia
Last year, Pakistan and Russia officially signed an amended inter-governmental agreement. According to the agreement, Russia will join the flagship pipeline from Punjab province of Pakistan to the Karachi port city.
The project was earlier known as the North-South Pipeline, though it is now called the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project which will deliver imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Pakistan’s coastal regions to industrial areas in Punjab.
The initiative has remained on hold since 2015 due to disagreements over fees and United States sanctions against the Russian state conglomerate Rostec.
In September 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Pakistan and held wide-ranging talks covering bilateral relations and regional and global issues.
“The Foreign Minister [Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Islamabad] underlined that strengthening of relations with the Russian Federation was an important foreign policy priority for Pakistan,” a statement circulated by the Pakistani foreign office said after Lavrov’s visit.