Pakistan doesn’t want to be part of any bloc — Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Moscow, the first bilateral meeting between the two nations in over two decades even as a standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine has escalated sharply.

The visit comes as the South Asian country has drawn closer to Beijing as the flagship nation for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Its historic ties with the U.S., a key ally during the Cold War years, have become lukewarm. However, Islamabad isn’t shifting camps, Khan said.

  • What we want to do is not become part of any bloc, Khan.
  • We want to have trading relationship with all countries, Khan.

Khan will have “wide-ranging” discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on bilateral, regional and international topics during the two-day visit, according to a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

The bilateral meeting between Khan and Putin will be the first since former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Russia in 1999.

Pakistan has tried in recent years to improve ties with Moscow, The two nations have supported each other too.

  • Insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is not freedom of speech, Putin.

Russia is also helping Islamabad with the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline. The pipeline’s shareholders agreement will be signed this month followed by a design study and construction is likely to begin by the end of the year. The project has been delayed for a few years with one reason being the Russian companies earlier selected had U.S. sanctions imposed on them, said Khan. Khan’s administration is also looking to increase trade with other central Asian nations.

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