According to Pakistan’s former energy minister Hammad Azhar, the Shehbaz Sharif government has terminated energy talks with Russia concerning a contract to acquire crude at discounted rates. Hammad made these statements on Tuesday in response to Khurram Dastgir, Pakistan’s newly appointed power minister, saying there had been no talks about buying Russian oil and gas. Dastgir stated that the concerned quarters had no paper or evidence. However, this contradicts Hammad’s claim that Islamabad has put the PakStream pipeline agreement on hold. The PTI government had been “intensely engaged with Russian Energy Ministry for the delivery of discounted crude oil,” according to the former federal minister who worked under Imran Khan’s government, but those negotiations have now been suspended.
“Plus, PakStream pipeline agreement was ready for signing with Russian counterparts with all paperwork done. But the new government is dragging its feet on it,” he added. According to Hammad, Imran Khan’s government had been in discussions with Russia in March to purchase LNG under a long-term agreement. But after the Shehbaz Sharif government arrived in April, those discussions were suspended by the new government. “New power minister says there is no evidence of communication with Russia over the purchase of discounted oil and gas. Like the story of 27 out of order power plants, this also is a lie. Imran Khan as PM chaired two meetings on the subject and we were aiming for purchasing the first cargoes in April. Our ambassador in Moscow was tasked and was actively in touch with the Russian officials regarding this issue,” he added.
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